Prevalence and risk factors for cervical cancer and pre-cancerous lesions in Rwanda

  • Jean Damascène Makuza
  • Sabin Nsanzimana
  • Marie Aimee Muhimpundu
  • Lydia Eleanor Pace
  • Joseph Ntaganira
  • David James Riedel
Keywords: Rwanda, cervical cancer, screening, VIA


Introduction: Cervical cancer prevalence in Rwanda has not been well-described. Visual inspection with acetic acid or Lugol solution has been shown to be effective for cervical cancer screening in low resource  settings. The aim of the study is to understand the prevalence and risk factors for cervical cancer and pre- cancerous lesions among Rwandan women between 30 and 50 old undergoing screening.

Methods: This  crosssectional analytical study was done in 3 districts of Rwanda from October 2010 to June 2013.  Women aged 30 to 50 years screened for cervical cancer by trained doctors, nurses and  midwives. Prevalence of pre-cancerous and cancerous cervical lesions was determined. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to assess risk factors associated with cervical cancer.

Results: The prevalence of pre-cancer and invasive cervical cancer was 5.9% (95% CI 4.5, 7.5) and  1.7% (95% CI 0.9, 2.5), respectively. Risk factors associated with cervical cancer in multivariate  analysis included initiation of sexual activity at less than 20 years (OR=1.75; 95% CI=(1.01, 3.03); being unmarried (single, divorced and widowed) (OR=3.29; 95% CI=( 1.26, 8.60)); Older age of participants (OR= 0.52; 95% CI= (0.28, 0.97)), older age at the first pregnancy (OR=2.10; 95% CI=(1.20, 3.67) and higher number of children born (OR=0.42; 95%CI =(0.23, 0.76)) were protective.

Conclusion: Cervical cancer continues to be a public health problem in Rwanda, but screening using VIA is practical and feasible even in rural settings.

Key words: Rwanda, cervical cancer, screening, VIA


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eISSN: 1937-8688