Cervical cancer: current knowledge, perception and associated factors among female undergraduate student in a Nigerian polytechnic
Background and Objective: Cervical cancer is a major public health problem and one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality amongst the gynaecological cancers worldwide, especially in developing countries. Cervical cancer continues to persist in Nigeria like other developing countries despite the existence of interventions. This study was carried out to assess the knowledge and perception of female students of The Polytechnic, Ibadan about cervical cancer.
Methods and Design: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study using a cluster sampling technique to select respondents. Sample of 420 was divided between the four (4) female hostels. Data was collected using self-administered semi-structured questionnaire and was analysed with SPSS® version 16. Bivariate analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with knowledge and perception about cervical cancer.
Results: Of all the interviews conducted, 89.1% were aware that cervical cancer is a life threatening situation, and 67.4% of the respondents knew that cervical cancer is linked to the virus, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Majority recognized that smoking (90.2%), multiple sexual partners (75.7%), early onset of sexual intercourse (73.2%) are risk factors for cervical cancer. Most (85.7%) agreed it can be treated if detected early, while 78.8% agreed that screening for cancer of the cervix is necessary to detect cancer. Poor perception put women at high risk of cervical cancer (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Cervical cancer is a major health burden for women in sub-Saharan Africa, yet only three-fifth and half of the respondents had good knowledge and good perception of cervical cancer respectively. Understanding factors associated with women's perceived risk of cervical cancer could guide future educational and clinical interventions to increase knowledge, perception and cervical cancer screening.
Keywords: Cervical cancer, knowledge, perception, female undergraduate