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Knowledge, attitude and practice of cervical cancer and its screening (Pap smear) among female students of Orotta College of medicine and health sciences


MOJ Women's Health
Yohannes Mekonen,1 Hermon Berhe,2 Luam Ghebreab3  

Abstract

Background: Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide that affects developing countries and young women in particular. Out of many types of female cancers, cancer of the cervix could be prevented if appropriate medical interventions are taken on time. Pap smear is a means for early detection of premalignant stages and treatment before the disease advances to a late stage. However, its practice remains unsatisfactory in many countries including Eritrea.

Objective: The aim of the study was to illustrate knowledge, attitude and level of cervical cancer and Pap smear practice and associated factors among female students of Orotta College of Medicine and Health sciences (OCMHS).

 Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among female undergraduate students in OCMHS enrolled during the academic year 2018-2019. A total of 252 students participated in the study. Piloted, structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to assess the distribution and to identify associations between independent and outcome variables respectively.

Results: Majority of the students, 171 (68.4%), were 18-21 years old and 159 (63.6%) were second and third year students. One hundred thirty six (54.4%) students had inadequate knowledge and one hundred twenty three (49.2%) had negative attitude towards cervical cancer screening. Only two (0.8%) participants had ever been screened with Pap smear test. Logistic regression analysis showed that age, level of education and year of study were significantly associated with knowledge of cervical cancer and its screening methods. Year of study and knowledge levels were significantly associated with attitude towards cervical cancer screening (Pap smear).

Conclusions:The study showed that there is a lack of knowledge of cervical cancer, unfavorable attitude towards screening methods and poor utilization of Pap smear. The study emphasized the importance of creating awareness and increasing knowledge of cervical cancer and Pap smear through numerous health education campaigns and mass media. Hence, it will be vital to integrate cervical cancer preventive measures with other reproductive health care services at all, if not at the highest, levels of health care delivery system.

Keywords

Knowledge, attitude, practice, cervical cancer, pap smear

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