Awareness and knowledge of cervical cancer and its screening methods among women attending primary healthcare centers in Zaria, North‑Western, Nigeria
Background: Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in many developing countries. Cervical cancer can be prevented by screening and treatment of premalignant lesions of the cervix. Primary healthcare centers are the health centers closest to the grassroots in Nigeria and thus may be appropriate for population‑based cervical cancer screening programs. This study sought to assess awareness of cervical cancer and its screening methods among women attending primary healthcare centers in Zaria, Nigeria.
Methodology: It was a cross‑sectional study. Participants were women accessing healthcare in primary healthcare centers in Zaria. Eight primary healthcare centers in Zaria were purposively selected for the study. Data were obtained by focus group discussions (FGDs). The FGDs were tape‑recorded and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts obtained were analyzed into themes based on the objectives of the study.
Results: The mean age of respondents was 26 years (standard deviation 4.9 years). Many participants were aware of symptoms of cervical cancer; however, they were not aware of the risk factors. Pap smear was the only screening method known to participants.
Conclusion: Awareness of cervical cancer and cervical screening did not reflect adequate knowledge about cervical cancer and screening methods. There is a need for healthcare providers to offer adequate health education about the disease and screening methods.
Keywords: Cervical cancer awareness; cervical cancer screening; primary healthcare attendees