Cervical Cancer Screening: A Survey of Current Practice Amongst Nigerian Gynaecologists

  • Hyacinth E. Onah
  • Francis O. Ezugwu
  • Justus N. Eze
Keywords: Cervical Screening, Smears, Gynaecologists, Nigeria


Context: Cervical malignancy is the commonest genital tract malignancy in Nigeria. In the absence of a national screening programme, any hope of minimising death from invasive cervical carcinoma in Nigeria is through increased opportunistic cervical screening by physicians. Recent evidence showed a high awareness but a low practice of cervical screening among Nigerian women, a situation that the respondents attributed to poor physician referral.
Objective: To study the attitude toward and practice of cervical cancer screening amongst Nigerian gynaecologists, on whom the burden of treating cervical cancer rests.
Study Design, Setting and Subjects: A self-administered, questionnaire survey of 113 Nigerian gynaecologists who attended the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) held in Abuja in November 2000.
Results: The 86 (76.1%) gynaecologists who practised in centres with cervical screening services estimated that they screened 15.0 + 18.9% of their gynaecology patients. Pap smear was available to 85 (76.1%) gynaecologists, colposcopy to 28 (32.6%), direct visual inspection (after applying 5% acetic acid solution) to 16 (18.6%), human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing to 2 (2.3%) and cervicography to 1 (1.2%). Thirty gynaecologists had definite cervical screening programmes, most of which were selective and based on specific indications. All the respondents favoured a national cervical screening programme.
Conclusion: Despite general agreement amongst Nigerian gynaecologists on the need for a national cervical screening programme, their level of opportunistic screening of patients is currently low. A plea is made for increased opportunistic screening pending the establishment of a national screening programme.
(Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology: 2001, 18(2): 78-81)

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