Health SA Gesondheid

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Sexual and menstrual practices: risks for cervix cancer

JE Maree, SC Wright


Cervix cancer is the cancer that causes most female deaths in South Africa. Little is known about the sexual and menstrual practices in high-risk communities in South Africa. Knowledge of the risks inherent in these practices might lead to changed behaviour. The purpose of this study was to investigate if there are inherent risk factors for cervix cancer in the Black women's sexual and menstrual practices that could result in an increased incidence to provide an evidence base for future interventions. The design of the study was an exploratory, descriptive, contextual, quantitative survey. The context of the study was two urban areas in the Tshwane Metropolis. The target population was women from the age of 18 years in Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve extension 12. The sampling
method used was convenient sampling (n = 279). A structured interview was conducted due to the high rate of illiteracy found amongst the women. The data were summarised using descriptive statistics. The results of the study highlight several risks that could increase the women's chance to develop cervix cancer. The identified risks
are inherent in their socio-economic situation, knowledge and awareness of cervix cancer, and practices during menstruation.

Keywords: cervix cancer; sexual practices; menstrual practices

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 12 (3) 2007: pp. 55-66
AJOL African Journals Online