Main Article Content
Background: Cervical cancer is the second commonest cancer of females worldwide and the commonest cancer of the female genital tract in our environment. It can be prevented through early detection by cervical screening (Pap smear). Objective: The objective of this study is to determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of cervical
cancer screening among female undergraduates. Method: A pre tested questionnaire was administered to third and fourth year female students of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Nigeria. Result: Out of the 220 students involved in the study, 134 (60.9) had knowledge of cervical cancer and 118 (53.6%) were sexually active with the average age at sexual debut being 21.2 years. The mean age of the students was 23.8 years and the age range was 17 to 39 years with 175 (80%) in the age range of 20-
29 years. About 2/3 of the students did not know about Pap smear and worse still, none of them had undergone a Pap screening test before. This low participation in screening for cervical cancer was attributed to several reasons including ignorance of the existence of such a test, lack of awareness of centers where such services are obtainable, ignorance of the importance of screening and the risk factors to the development of cervical cancer.
Conclusion: There is good level of awareness of cervical cancer among the female undergraduates but poor knowledge and participation in cervical cancer screening. The development of a comprehensive cervical cancer screening strategy is being recommended to improve participation with a view to prevent cervical cancer by early detection and treatment of the pre-malignant stages.
Keywords: Cervical cancer, screening, female undergraduates.
Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol. 11 (3) 2008: pp. 216-219