Awareness and risk factors for cervical cancer among Women in Aba, south-eastern Nigeria
AbstractContext: Cervical cancer is the commonest genital tract malignancy in Nigeria. Previous evidence reported a high awareness but a low practice in cervical screening amongst Nigerian woman. Respondents attributed this to poor physician referral.
Objective: To determine the level of cervical cancer awareness amongst out women and the prevalence of the major risk factors, their rate of utilization of existing pap smear services and their attitudes to pap smears in general.
Study Design and Subjects: A cross-sectional questionnaire of 200 women attending the Gynaecological Outpatients Department.
Results: The majority of respondents were married (92%) and sexually active having initiated sexual activity at a young age (mean age 17.3 ± 2.5 years). There was a high prevalence of the major risk factors for cervical cancer. These included initiation of coitus before 19 years (43.5%), multiple sexual partners (63.5%) and male partner with other female partners (2.5%). Also, a previous history of sexually transmitted diseases (58.5%) and vulval warts (48%). Their overall knowledge of cervical cancer was low and only 32 women (16%) had any knowledge of pap smear services. Only 16 of these women had a pap smear performed on them. Also, there was poor appreciation of personal risk of cervical cancer and safer sex practices.
Conclusion: The role of national cervical screening campaigns and dissemination of basic information to our women concerning risk factors cannot be overemphasised.
Keywords: cervical cancer, cervical screening, risk factors
Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vol. 22(1) 2005: 25-26
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