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1.  A Study on Cervical Cancer Screening Amongst Nurses in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria 
Journal of Cancer Education  2011;26(3):497-504.
Cancer of the cervix is the commonest genital tract malignancy in the female, and it has been ranked second to breast cancer. It has positive association with infection of human papillomavirus. Cervical cancer incidence and mortality have declined substantially in western countries following the introduction of screening programmes. This present study investigated the knowledge, attitude and practice of nurses in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) towards cervical cancer screening as they are important health personnel that are suppose to educate women on the need for cervical cancer screening. The study is a descriptive cross-sectional survey of the knowledge, attitude and practice of 200 nurses in LUTH towards cervical cancer screening. The results obtained showed that 99% of the respondents were aware of cervical cancer and that 92% of the respondents were also aware of the causative organism of cervical cancer (human papillomavirus). Their major sources of information were through electronic media (43.9%) and health professionals (37.4%). Furthermore, the respondents were quiet aware of Pap smear (91%) as one of the screening techniques of cervical cancer and had good attitudes (89%) towards Pap smear, but most of them had never done it before. The study further revealed that majority of the respondents did not know colposcopy as one of the screening techniques for cervical cancer. Finally, it has been made known from this study that nurses have good knowledge of cervical cancer but have limited understanding of the types of cervical cancer screening techniques and poor disposition towards undergoing cervical cancer screening. It may thus be recommended that institutions should periodically organise seminars and training for health personnel especially the nurses which form a group of professionals that should give health education to women about cervical cancer. This training may be done as part of the orientation programme to newly employed staff.
doi:10.1007/s13187-010-0187-6
PMCID: PMC3161190  PMID: 21222192
Cervical cancer; Pap smear; Nurses; Screening techniques
2.  Awareness of cervical cancer screening among nursing staff in a tertiary institution of rural India 
Journal of Gynecologic Oncology  2012;23(3):141-146.
Objective
To determine the baseline information about the knowledge of cervical cancer and explore attitude and practice of Pap smear screening among staff nurses.
Methods
A pretested structured self administered questionnaire based survey was done on 205 staff nurses working in Rural Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Saifai, Etawah, containing mostly recognition and some recall type questions about demographics, knowledge about cervical cancer, its risk factors, screening techniques, attitudes towards cervical cancer screening and its practices.
Results
In this study, 74% knew that Pap smear is used for detection of cervical cancer, but only 59% knew that it can detect both cancerous as well as precancerous lesions of the cervix. Only 18% of the respondents knew about human papillomavirus vaccine. A 47% of respondents had never taken a Pap smear; 63% never referred patients for the screening. Most nurses (79%) thought that a speculum examination and Pap smear are procedures to be performed by the doctors. Among all the respondents, only 11% had ever undergone a Pap smear on themselves.
Conclusion
Despite knowledge of the gravity of cervical cancer and prevention by screening, attitudes and practices towards screening were negative.
doi:10.3802/jgo.2012.23.3.141
PMCID: PMC3395008  PMID: 22808355
Cervical cancer; Pap smear; Screening attitude
3.  Influences on uptake of reproductive health services in Nsangi community of Uganda and their implications for cervical cancer screening 
Background
Cervical cancer is the most common female cancer in Uganda. Over 80% of women diagnosed or referred with cervical cancer in Mulago national referral and teaching hospital have advanced disease. Plans are underway for systematic screening programmes based on visual inspection, as Pap smear screening is not feasible for this low resource country. Effectiveness of population screening programmes requires high uptake and for cervical cancer, minimal loss to follow up. Uganda has poor indicators of reproductive health (RH) services uptake; 10% postnatal care attendance, 23% contraceptive prevalence, and 38% skilled attendance at delivery. For antenatal attendance, attendance to one visit is 90%, but less than 50% for completion of care, i.e. three or more visits.
Methods
We conducted a qualitative study using eight focus group discussions with a total of 82 participants (16 men, 46 women and 20 health workers). We aimed to better understand factors that influence usage of available reproductive health care services and how they would relate to cervical cancer screening, as well as identify feasible interventions to improve cervical cancer screening uptake.
Results
Barriers identified after framework analysis included ignorance about cervical cancer, cultural constructs/beliefs about the illness, economic factors, domestic gender power relations, alternative authoritative sources of reproductive health knowledge, and unfriendly health care services. We discuss how these findings may inform future planned screening programmes in the Ugandan context.
Conclusion
Knowledge about cervical cancer among Ugandan women is very low. For an effective cervical cancer-screening programme, awareness about cervical cancer needs to be increased. Health planners need to note the power of the various authoritative sources of reproductive health knowledge such as paternal aunts (Sengas) and involve them in the awareness campaign. Cultural and economic issues dictate the perceived reluctance by men to participate in women's reproductive health issues; men in this community are, however, potential willing partners if appropriately informed. Health planners should address the loss of confidence in current health care units, as well as consider use of other cervical cancer screening delivery systems such as mobile clinics/camps.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-4-4
PMCID: PMC1936416  PMID: 17594474
4.  Awareness of HPV and cervical cancer prevention among Cameroonian healthcare workers 
BMC Women's Health  2011;11:45.
Background
Cervical cancer, although largely preventable, remains the most common cause of cancer mortality among women in low-resource countries.
The objective of this study was to assess knowledge and awareness of cervical cancer prevention among Cameroonian healthcare workers.
Methods
A cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire in 5 parts with 46 items regarding cervical cancer etiology and prevention was addressed to healthcare workers in six hospitals of Yaoundé, Cameroon. The investigators enlisted heads of nursing and midwifery to distribute questionnaires to their staff, recruited doctors individually, in hospitals and during conferences and distributed questionnaires to students in Yaoundé University Hospital and Medical School. Eight hundred and fifty questionnaires were distributed, 401 collected. Data were analyzed with SPSS version 16.0. Chi-square tests were used and P-values < 0.05 were considered significant.
Results
Mean age of respondents was 38 years (range 20-71 years). Most participants were aware that cervical cancer is a major public health concern (86%), were able to identify the most important etiological factors (58%) and believed that screening may prevent cervical cancer (90%) and may be performed by Pap test (84%). However, less than half considered VIA or HPV tests screening tests (38 and 47%, respectively). Knowledge about cancer etiology and screening was lowest among nurse/midwives.
Conclusion
Knowledge of cervical cancer and prevention by screening showed several gaps and important misconceptions regarding screening methods.
Creating awareness among healthcare workers on risk factors and current methods for cervical cancer screening is a necessary step towards implementing effective prevention programs.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-11-45
PMCID: PMC3219551  PMID: 22008186
5.  Knowledge and Acceptability of Pap Smears, Self-Sampling and HPV Vaccination among Adult Women in Kenya 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40766.
Objectives
Our study aimed to assess adult women’s knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, and characterize their attitudes towards potential screening and prevention strategies.
Methods
Women were participants of an HIV-discordant couples cohort in Nairobi, Kenya. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on sociodemographic status, and sexual and medical history at baseline and on knowledge and attitudes towards Pap smears, self-sampling, and HPV vaccination at study exit.
Results
Only 14% of the 409 women (67% HIV-positive; median age 29 years) had ever had a Pap smear prior to study enrollment and very few women had ever heard of HPV (18%). Although most women knew that Pap smears detect cervical cancer (69%), very few knew that routine Pap screening is the main way to prevent ICC (18%). Most women reported a high level of cultural acceptability for Pap smear screening and a low level of physical discomfort during Pap smear collection. In addition, over 80% of women reported that they would feel comfortable using a self-sampling device (82%) and would prefer at-home sample collection (84%). Nearly all women (94%) reported willingness to be vaccinated to prevent cervical cancer if offered at no or low cost.
Conclusions
These findings highlight the need to educate women on routine use of Pap smears in the prevention of cervical cancer and demonstrate that vaccination and self-sampling would be acceptable modalities for cervical cancer prevention and screening.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040766
PMCID: PMC3393696  PMID: 22808257
6.  An exploration of opportunities and challenges facing cervical cancer managers in Kenya 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:136.
Background
Kenya like other developing countries is low in resource setting and is facing a number of challenges in the management of cervical cancer. This study documents opportunities and challenges encountered in managing cervical cancer from the health care workers’ perspectives. A qualitative study was conducted among cervical cancer managers who were defined as nurses and doctors involved in operational level management of cervical cancer. The respondents were drawn from four provincial hospitals and the only two main National public referral hospitals in Kenya. Twenty one [21] nurse managers and twelve [12] medical doctors were interviewed using a standardized interview guide. The responses were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and the content analyzed in emerging themes.
Findings
Four themes were identified. Patient related challenges included a large number of patients, presenting in the late stage of disease, low levels of knowledge on cancer of the cervix, low levels of screening and a poor attitude towards screening procedure. Individual health care providers identified a lack of specialised training, difficulty in disclosure of diagnosis to patients, a poor attitude towards cervical cancer screening procedure and a poor attitude towards cervical cancer patients. Health facilities were lacking in infrastructure and medical supplies. Some managers felt ill-equipped in technological skills while the majority lacked access to the internet. Mobile phones were identified as having great potential for improving the management of cervical cancer in Kenya.
Conclusion
Kenya faces a myriad of challenges in the management of cervical cancer. The peculiar negative attitude towards screening procedure and the negative attitude of some managers towards cervical cancer patients need urgent attention. The potential use of mobile phones in cervical cancer management should be explored.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-136
PMCID: PMC3626574  PMID: 23566436
Challenges; Attitudes; Opportunities; Cervical cancer; Health care managers; Kenya
7.  Rationale and design of the research project of the South Florida Center for the Reduction of Cancer Health Disparities (SUCCESS): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):299.
Background
In the United States certain minority groups, such as racial/ethnic immigrant women, are less likely than non-Hispanic White women to be screened for cervical cancer. Barriers to such care include health insurance, cost, knowledge, attitudes, health literacy, and cultural norms and practices. Among the most promising approaches to increase screening in these groups are patient navigators that can link women to sources of appropriate care. Another recent promising approach is using human papilloma virus (HPV) self-sampling. In this manuscript, we describe our National Cancer Institute-sponsored study testing such approaches among immigrant minority women.
Design
The South Florida Center for the Reduction of Cancer Health Disparities (SUCCESS) is conducting a three-arm randomized trial among Hispanic, Haitian, and African American women in Miami-Dade County. Community health workers (CHW) based in each of three communities are recruiting 200 women at each site (600 total). Eligibility criteria include women aged 30–65 years who have not had a Pap smear test in the last 3 years. Prior to randomization, all women undergo a standardized structured interview. Women randomized to public health outreach, Group 1, receive culturally tailored educational materials. Women in Group 2 receive an individualized comprehensive cervical cancer CHW-led education session followed by patient navigation to obtain the Pap smear test at community-based facilities. Women in Group 3 have the option of navigation to a Pap smear test or performing HPV self-sampling. The primary outcome is self-report of completed screening through a Pap smear test or HPV self-sampling within 6 months after enrollment.
Discussion
SUCCESS is one of the first trials testing HPV self-sampling as a screening strategy among underserved minority women. If successful, HPV self-sampling may be an important option in community outreach programs aimed at reducing disparities in cervical cancer.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials.gov # NCT02121548, registered April 21, 2014.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-299
PMCID: PMC4127186  PMID: 25056208
Cervical cancer; Community-based participatory research; Haitian; Health disparities; Hispanic; Human papilloma virus; Immigrant; Minority; Screening
8.  Pap smear screening in the primary health care setting: A study from Turkey 
Background:
Cervical cancer is one of the ten most frequent cancers in Turkey. It is well known that cervical cancer morbidity and mortality could be significantly reduced with an active cervical smear screening (Pap smear) program.
Aims:
The aims of this study were: 1) to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of women about cervical smear testing; 2) to establish a cervical smear screening program and to evaluate the cervical cytological abnormalities that were found; 3) to determine the applicability, limitations and effectiveness of this screening in a primary health care unit.
Patients and Methods:
A total of 332 married women were included in our study. We collected data concerning socio-demographic and fertility characteristics, and knowledge about Pap smear testing was determined through printed questionnaires. A gynecological examination and Pap smear screening was performed on every woman in our study group.
Results:
Over ninety percent of our study group had never heard of and had not undergone Pap smear screening before. Of the 332 smears evaluated, 328 (98.8%) were accepted as normal, whereas epithelial cell anomalies were seen in 4 (1.2%), infection in 59 (17.7%), and reactive cell differences in 223 (67.2%) of the smears.
Conclusions:
The frequency of epithelial cell anomalies in our study group was less than the frequencies reported from Western countries. Knowledge regarding cervical cancer and Pap smear screening was very low. Pap smears can be easily taken and evaluated through a chain built between the primary health care unit and laboratory, and this kind of screening intervention is easily accepted by the population served.
doi:10.4297/najms.2010.2468
PMCID: PMC3339109  PMID: 22558549
Cervical smear; cervical intraepithelial lesion; cervical cancer screening
9.  Lesbians’ attitudes and practices of cervical cancer screening: a qualitative study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):2.
Background
Cervical cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in women, and since the introduction of the Papanicolaou test (Pap test or Pap smear), the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality rates worldwide have declined substantially. However significant disparities have been identified between the cervical screening rates of heterosexual and lesbian women. This study explores the attitudes and practices that lesbians have towards cervical cancer screening and aims to identify why such disparities occur.
Methods
A qualitative methodology based on feminist perspectives was used to collect narrative data from lesbians about their attitudes and practices of cervical screening through the use of semi structured interviews. Nine women who self-identified as lesbian that were living in New South Wales were recruited for the study. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach.
Results
Four main themes emerged from the data namely: Encountering cervical cancer: “my friends had some early cancer cells detected”, Misconceptions related to risk: “I am a lesbian I don’t need one”, Imposed screening: “It’s a requirement of IVF treatment” and, Promoting cervical screening: “I think it should be spoken about in schools”.
Conclusions
Consistent with the literature, the findings show that the majority of these women do not undertake cervical screening at the recommended rate. This study highlights the multiple and complex issues related to cervical cancer screening for lesbians, mainly through misconceptions and underestimation of risk. Specific and targeted educational and promotional strategies are required for both lesbians and health professionals to enhance cervical cancer screening rates for lesbians in Australia.
doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0153-2
PMCID: PMC4276097
Lesbian; Cervical cancer screening; Pap test; Pap smear; Papanicolaou test; Cancer prevention; Human papilloma virus
10.  Mind the gaps: a qualitative study of perceptions of healthcare professionals on challenges and proposed remedies for cervical cancer help-seeking in post conflict northern Uganda 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:193.
Background
There are limited data on perceptions of health professionals on challenges faced by cervical cancer patients seeking healthcare in the developing countries. We explored the views of operational level health professionals on perceived barriers to cervical screening and early help–seeking for symptomatic cervical cancer and the proposed remedies to the challenges.
Methods
Fifteen key informant interviews were held with health professionals including medical directors, gynecologists, medical officers, nurses and midwives in the gynecology and obstetrics departments of two hospitals in northern Uganda during August 2012 to April 2013. We used content analysis techniques to analyze the data.
Results
Health professionals’ perceived barriers to cervical cancer care included: (i) patients and community related barriers e.g. lack of awareness on cervical cancer and available services, discomfort with exposure of women’s genitals and perceived pain during pelvic examinations, and men’s lack of emotional support to women (ii) individual healthcare professional’s challenges e.g. inadequate knowledge and skills about cervical cancer management; (iii) health facility related barriers e.g. long distances and lack of transport to cervical cancer screening and care centers, few gynecologists and lack of pathologists, delayed histology results, lack of established palliative care services and inadequate pain control; and (iv) health policy challenges e.g. lack of specialized cancer treatment services, and lack of vaccination for human papilloma virus. Other challenges included increased number of cervical cancer patients and late stage of cervical cancer at presentations.
Conclusions
Operational level healthcare professionals in northern Uganda reported several practical challenges facing cervical cancer care that influence their decisions, management goals and practices. The challenges and proposed remedies can inform targeted interventions for early detection, management, and control of cervical cancer in Uganda.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-193
PMCID: PMC3915559  PMID: 24341601
Barriers to care; Cervical cancer; Northern Uganda; Healthcare professionals
11.  Confusion regarding cervical cancer screening and chlamydia screening among sexually active young women 
Objective
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently recommended that cervical cancer screening begin at 21 years of age and occur biennially for low-risk women younger than 30 years. Earlier studies suggested that women may have limited understanding of the differences between cervical cancer screening and chlamydia screening. This study assessed the knowledge of chlamydia and cervical cancer screening tests and schedules in younger women.
Methods
A survey regarding knowledge of chlamydia and cervical cancer screening was administered to 60 younger women aged 18–25 years in an obstetrics and gynaecology clinic at an urban community health centre.
Results
The majority of respondents recalled having had a Pap smear (93.3%) or chlamydia test (75.0%). Although many respondents understood that a Pap smear checks for cervical cancer (88.3%) and human papillomavirus (68.3%), 71.7% mistakenly believed that a Pap smear screens for chlamydia. No respondent correctly identified the revised cervical cancer screening schedule, and 83.3% selected annual screening. Few respondents (23.3%) identified the annual chlamydia screening schedule and 26.7% were unsure.
Conclusion
Many younger women in an urban community health centre believed that cervical cancer screening also screens for chlamydia and were confused about chlamydia screening schedules. As there is limited knowledge of the revised ACOG cervical cancer screening guidelines, there is a risk that currently low chlamydia screening rates may decrease further after these new guidelines are better known. Obstetrician gynaecologists and primary care providers should educate younger women about the differences between chlamydia and cervical cancer screening and encourage sexually active younger women to have annual chlamydia screening.
doi:10.1136/sextrans-2011-050289
PMCID: PMC3724364  PMID: 22123163
12.  Knowledge, attitude and practice about cancer of the uterine cervix among women living in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:30.
Background
Cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Nevertheless, the level of women’s awareness about cervical cancer is unknown. Knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) are important elements for designing and monitoring screening programs. The study purpose was to estimate KAP on cervical cancer and to identify associated factors.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Kinshasa, DRC, including 524 women aged 16–78 years (median age 28; interquartile range 22–35). The women were interviewed at home by trained field workers using a standardized questionnaire. The women’s score on knowledge, attitude and practice were dichotomized as sufficient or insufficient. We used binary and multiple logistic regression to assess associations between obtaining sufficient scores and a series of socio-demographic factors: age, residence, marital status, education, occupation, religion, and parity.
Results
The women’s score on knowledge was not significantly correlated with their score on practice (Spearman’s rho = 0.08; P > 0.05). Obtaining a sufficient score on knowledge was positively associated with higher education (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 7.65; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 3.31-17.66) and formal employment (adjusted OR 3.35; 95% CI 1.85-6.09); it was negatively associated with being single (adjusted OR 0.44; 95% CI 0.24-0.81) and living in the eastern, western and northern zone of Kinshasa compared to the city centre. The attitude score was associated with place of residence (adjusted OR for east Kinshasa: 0.49; 95% CI 0.27-0.86 and for south Kinshasa: 0.48; 95% CI 0.27-0.85) and with religion (adjusted OR 0.55; 95% CI 0.35-0.86 for women with a religion other than Catholicism or Protestantism compared to Catholics). Regarding practice, there were negative associations between a sufficient score on practice and being single (adjusted OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.13-0.41) and living in the eastern zone of the city (adjusted OR 0.39; 95% CI 0.22-0.70). Although 84% of women had heard about cervical cancer, only 9% had ever had a Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test.
Conclusions
This study shows a low level of knowledge, attitude and practice on cervical cancer among women in Kinshasa. Increasing women’s awareness would be a first step in the long chain of conditions to attain a lower incidence and mortality.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-30
PMCID: PMC3937079  PMID: 24548698
13.  Knowledge, awareness and attitudes about cervical cancer among women attending or not an HIV treatment center in Lao PDR 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:161.
Background
Cervical cancer is the first female cancer in Lao PDR, a low-income country with no national screening and prevention programs for this human papillomavirus (HPV) associated pathology. HIV-infected women have a higher risk of persistent oncogenic HPV infection.
The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge, awareness and attitudes about cervical cancer among Lao women attending or not an HIV treatment center, in order to understand if this attendance had offered an opportunity for information and prevention.
Methods
A cross-sectional case–control survey was conducted in three provinces of Lao PDR, Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Savannakhet. Cases were 320 women aged 25 to 65, living with HIV and followed in an HIV treatment center. Controls were 320 women matched for age and place of residence, not attending an HIV treatment center.
Results
Cases had a greater number of sexual partners and used condoms more often than controls. Only 36.6% of women had consulted a gynecologist (47.5% among cases and 25.6% among controls, p < 0.001) and 3.9% had benefited from at least one Pap smear screening (5.6% cases and 2.2% controls, p = 0.02). The average knowledge score was 3.5 on a 0 to 13 scale, significantly higher in cases than in controls (p < 0.0001). Despite having a lower education level and economic status, the women living with HIV had a better knowledge about cervical cancer and were more aware than the controls of the risk of developing such a cancer (35.9% vs. 8.4%, p = 0.0001). The main source of information was healthcare professionals. The main reasons for not undergoing Pap smear were the absence of symptoms and the default of medical injunction for cases, the lack of information and ignorance of screening usefulness for controls.
Conclusion
In Lao PDR, routine consultation in HIV treatment centers is not enough harnessed to inform women of their high risk of developing cervical cancer, and to perform screening testing and treatment of precancerous lesions. Implementing this cost-effective strategy could be the first step toward a national prevention program for cervical cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-161
PMCID: PMC4016287  PMID: 24602191
Cervical cancer screening; HIV/AIDS; Knowledge; Awareness; Attitude; Lao PDR
14.  Cervical cancer prevention in reproductive health services: knowledge, attitudes and practices of midwives in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa 
Background
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women and the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in Côte d’Ivoire. Low resource countries can now prevent this cancer by using HPV vaccine and effective and affordable screening tests. However the implementation of these prevention strategies needs well-trained human resources. Part of the solution could come from midwives by integrating cervical cancer prevention into reproductive health services. The aim of this survey was to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices of midwives towards cervical cancer prevention in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and to find out factors associated with appropriate knowledge.
Methods
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among midwives in the urban district of Abidjan, using a self-administered questionnaire. Knowledge was assessed by two scores. Factors associated with appropriate knowledge were determined using a logistic regression analysis. Attitudes and practices were described and compare using the Chi2 test.
Results
A total of 592 midwives were enrolled, including 24.5% of final-year students. 55.7% of midwives had appropriate knowledge on cervical cancer, and 42.4% of them had appropriate knowledge on cervical cancer prevention strategies. Conferences, courses taken at school of midwifery and special training sessions on cervical cancer (OR = 4.9, 95% CI [1.9 to 12.6], p <0.01) were associated with good knowledge on the management of this disease. Among these midwives, 18.4% had already benefited from a screening test for themselves, 37.7% had already advised screening to patients and 8.4% were able to perform a visual inspection. 50.3% of midwives knew HPV vaccine as a preventive method; among them 70.8% usually recommended it to young girls.
Conclusion
Despite sufficient knowledge about cervical cancer prevention, attitudes and practices of midwives should be improved by organizing capacity building activities. This would ensure the success of integration of cervical cancer prevention into reproductive health services in countries like Côte d’Ivoire.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-165
PMCID: PMC4012470  PMID: 24721621
Cervical cancer; Prevention; Screening; HPV vaccine; Midwives; Reproductive health; Africa
15.  Women’s intentions to self-collect samples for human papillomavirus testing in an organized cervical cancer screening program 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1060.
Background
Mounting evidence affirms HPV testing as an effective cervical cancer screening tool, and many organized screening programs are considering adopting it as primary testing. HPV self-collection has comparable sensitivity to clinician collected specimens and is considered a feasible option in hard-to-reach women. We explored women’s intentions to HPV self-collect for cervical cancer screening from a cohort participating in a Canadian randomized controlled cervical cancer screening trial.
Methods
Women aged 25–65 were invited to complete an online survey assessing intentions to be screened with HPV testing instead of the Pap smear. The survey was based in the Theory of Planned Behaviour and questions were included to assess women’s intentions to self-collect for HPV. Demographic characteristics of women who intended to self-collect were compared with those who did not. Demographic and scale variables achieving a p-value <0.1 in the univariate and bivariate analyses were included in the stepwise logistic regression model. The final model was created to predict factors associated with women’s intentions to self-collect an HPV specimen for cervical cancer. Odds ratios were calculated with 95% confidence intervals to identify variables associated with a woman’s intention to self-collect for cervical cancer screening.
Results
The overall survey response rate was 63.8% (981/1538) with 447 (45.6%) reporting they intended to self-collect, versus 534 (54.4%) reporting they did not. In the univariate analysis, women with more than high school education were more likely to self-collect. Women who intended to receive HPV testing versus the Pap smear were 1.94 times as likely to be in favour of self-collection and those who intended to self-collect had significantly higher attitudinal scores towards HPV self-collection. The adjusted odds ratio and 95% confidence interval from the multivariate analysis demonstrated attitude towards self-collection was the only significant variable predicting a woman’s intention to self-collect (OR 1.25; 95% CI: 1.22, 1.29).
Conclusions
The primary predictor of a woman’s intention to HPV self-collect for cervical cancer screening was her attitude towards the procedure. From a program planning perspective, these results indicate that education and awareness may be significant contributing factors to improving acceptance of self-collection and subsequently, improving screening attendance rates.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1060) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1060
PMCID: PMC4203923  PMID: 25303975
Human papillomavirus (HPV); Cervical cancer screening; Self-collection; Intention; Theory of planned behaviour
16.  Evaluation of a Worksite Cervical Screening Initiative to Increase Pap Smear Uptake in Malaysia: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:572126.
Background. Despite the significant burden of cervical cancer, Malaysia like many middle-income countries relies on opportunistic cervical screening as opposed to a more organized population-based program. The aim of this study was to ascertain the effectiveness of a worksite screening initiative upon Papanicolaou smear test (Pap test) uptake among educated working women in Malaysia. Methods. 403 female teachers who never or infrequently attended for a Pap test from 40 public secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur were recruited into a cluster randomized trial conducted between January and November 2010. The intervention group participated in a worksite cervical screening initiative whilst the control group received usual care from the existing cervical screening program. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to determine the impact of the intervention program on Pap smear uptake after 24 weeks of followup. Results. The proportion of women attending for a Pap test was significantly higher in the intervention than in the control group (18.1% versus 10.1%, P value < 0.05) with the worksite screening initiative doubling the Pap smear uptake, adjusted odds ratio 2.44 (95% CI: 1.29–4.62). Conclusion. Worksite health promotion interventions can effectively increase cervical smear uptake rates among eligible workers in middle-income countries. Policy makers and health care providers in these countries should include such interventions in strategies for reducing cervical cancer burden. This trial is registered with IRCT201103186088N1.
doi:10.1155/2013/572126
PMCID: PMC3773923  PMID: 24073411
17.  Frequency of Cervical Cancer and Breast Cancer Screening in HIV–Infected Women in a County-Based HIV Clinic in the Western United States 
Journal of Women's Health  2010;19(4):709-712.
Abstract
Background
Women's primary-care services are frequently dispensed to HIV-infected women through HIV specialty clinics. Our objective was to evaluate cervical cancer and breast cancer screening practices in a county-based HIV clinic in San Mateo, California.
Methods
This was a retrospective cohort study of medical records of HIV-infected women obtaining HIV care at this site.
Results
Between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2006, 69 women were documented to have at least 12 months of medical care at the clinic. Median followup time was 51 months. Over 253 person-years of followup, there were 656 pap smears performed per 1,000 person-years; 77.9% of women had at least one Pap smear during the study time period. A total of 59.5% (47/79) of normal pap smears had a followup pap smear within 18 months; 62.0% of abnormal pap smears had a followup pap smear within 12 months. A CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3 was associated with not receiving a pap smear in multivariable analysis. Mammogram screening was performed on 64.7% of women aged 40 or older.
Conclusions
Based on the results of this study, the majority of HIV-infected women at this clinic received cervical and breast cancer screening at some point during their care. Only two-thirds of abnormal pap smear results had followup pap smear screening within a year. With the increased risk of cervical cancer in HIV-infected women, efforts should be made to promote cervical cancer screening, particularly in high-risk women.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2009.1412
PMCID: PMC2867552  PMID: 20201703
18.  Cervical Cancer Attitudes and Beliefs—A Cape Town Community Responds on World Cancer Day 
Background
Attitudes and beliefs affect women’s cervical cancer screening behavior.
Methods
We surveyed 228 women in Cape Town, South Africa about their screening history, knowledge, beliefs, and access barriers regarding Papanicolaou (Pap) smears and cervical cancer.
Results
More than half of the participants had never had a Pap smear or had 1 more than 10 years ago. One third did not know what a Pap smear was. Lengthy wait times and fatalistic beliefs also affected screening behavior. Ethnicity was associated with differences in beliefs.
Conclusions
Opportunistic cancer screening events are an effective way that women can obtain Pap smears and cancer education.
doi:10.1080/08858190902854590
PMCID: PMC3139476  PMID: 19431027
19.  Cervical Cancer Screening among University Students in South Africa: A Theory Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111557.
Introduction
Cervical cancer is a serious public health problem in South Africa. Even though the screening is free in health facilities in South Africa, the Pap smear uptake is very low. The objective of the study is to investigate the knowledge and beliefs of female university students in South Africa.
Methods
A cross sectional study was conducted among university women in South Africa to elicit information about knowledge and beliefs, and screening history.
Results
A total of 440 students completed the questionnaire. The average age of the participants was 20.39 years (SD  = 1.71 years). Regarding cervical cancer, 55.2% (n = 243) had ever heard about it. Results indicated that only 15% (22/147) of the students who had ever had sex and had heard about cervical cancer had taken a Pap test. Pearson correlation analysis showed that cervical cancer knowledge had a significantly negative relationship with barriers to cervical cancer screening. Susceptibility and seriousness score were significantly moderately correlated with benefit and motivation score as well as barrier score. Self-efficacy score also had a moderate correlation with benefit and motivation score. Students who had had a Pap test showed a significantly lower score in barriers to being screened compared to students who had not had a Pap test.
Conclusion
This study showed that educated women in South Africa lack complete information on cervical cancer. Students who had had a Pap test had significantly lower barriers to cervical cancer screening than those students who had not had a Pap test.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111557
PMCID: PMC4227671  PMID: 25387105
20.  A Population-Based Evaluation of a Publicly Funded, School-Based HPV Vaccine Program in British Columbia, Canada: Parental Factors Associated with HPV Vaccine Receipt 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000270.
Analysis of a telephone survey by Gina Ogilvie and colleagues identifies the parental factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a school-based program in Canada.
Background
Information on factors that influence parental decisions for actual human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine receipt in publicly funded, school-based HPV vaccine programs for girls is limited. We report on the level of uptake of the first dose of the HPV vaccine, and determine parental factors associated with receipt of the HPV vaccine, in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program in British Columbia, Canada.
Methods and Findings
All parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the academic year of September 2008–June 2009 in the province of British Columbia were eligible to participate. Eligible households identified through the provincial public health information system were randomly selected and those who consented completed a validated survey exploring factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to calculate adjusted odds ratios to identify the factors that were associated with parents' decision to vaccinate their daughter(s) against HPV. 2,025 parents agreed to complete the survey, and 65.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 63.1–67.1) of parents in the survey reported that their daughters received the first dose of the HPV vaccine. In the same school-based vaccine program, 88.4% (95% CI 87.1–89.7) consented to the hepatitis B vaccine, and 86.5% (95% CI 85.1–87.9) consented to the meningococcal C vaccine. The main reasons for having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were the effectiveness of the vaccine (47.9%), advice from a physician (8.7%), and concerns about daughter's health (8.4%). The main reasons for not having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine were concerns about HPV vaccine safety (29.2%), preference to wait until the daughter is older (15.6%), and not enough information to make an informed decision (12.6%). In multivariate analysis, overall attitudes to vaccines, the impact of the HPV vaccine on sexual practices, and childhood vaccine history were predictive of parents having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine in a publicly funded school-based HPV vaccine program. By contrast, having a family with two parents, having three or more children, and having more education was associated with a decreased likelihood of having a daughter receive the HPV vaccine.
Conclusions
This study is, to our knowledge, one of the first population-based assessments of factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake in a publicly funded school-based program worldwide. Policy makers need to consider that even with the removal of financial and health care barriers, parents, who are key decision makers in the uptake of this vaccine, are still hesitant to have their daughters receive the HPV vaccine, and strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake need to be employed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 10% of cancers in women occur in the cervix, the structure that connects the womb to the vagina. Every year, globally, more than a quarter of a million women die because of cervical cancer, which only occurs after the cervix has been infected with a human papillomavirus (HPV) through sexual intercourse. There are many types of HPV, a virus that infects the skin and the mucosa (the moist membranes that line various parts of the body, including the cervix). Although most people become infected with HPV at some time in their life, most never know they are infected. However, some HPV types cause harmless warts on the skin or around the genital area and several—in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, so-called high-risk HPVs—can cause cervical cancer. HPV infections are usually cleared by the immune system, but about 10% of women infected with a high-risk HPV develop a long-term infection that puts them at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Why Was This Study Done?
Screening programs have greatly reduced cervical cancer deaths in developed countries in recent decades by detecting the cancer early when it can be treated; but it would be better to prevent cervical cancer ever developing. Because HPV is necessary for the development of cervical cancer, vaccination of girls against HPV infection before the onset of sexual activity might be one way to do this. Scientists recently developed a vaccine that prevents infection with HPV 16 and HPV 18 (and with two HPVs that cause genital warts) and that should, therefore, reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. Publicly funded HPV vaccination programs are now planned or underway in several countries; but before girls can receive the HPV vaccine, parental consent is usually needed, so it is important to know what influences parental decisions about HPV vaccination. In this study, the researchers undertake a telephone survey to determine the uptake of the HPV vaccine by 11-year-old girls (grade 6) in British Columbia, Canada, and to determine the parental factors associated with vaccine uptake; British Columbia started a voluntary school-based HPV vaccine program in September 2008.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In early 2009, the researchers contacted randomly selected parents of girls enrolled in grade 6 during the 2008–2009 academic year and asked them to complete a telephone survey that explored factors associated with HPV vaccine uptake. 65.1% of the 2,025 parents who completed the survey had consented to their daughter receiving the first dose of HPV vaccine. By contrast, more than 85% of the parents had consented to hepatitis B and meningitis C vaccination of their daughters. Nearly half of the parents surveyed said their main reason for consenting to HPV vaccination was the effectiveness of the vaccine. Conversely, nearly a third of the parents said concern about the vaccine's safety was their main reason for not consenting to vaccination and one in eight said they had been given insufficient information to make an informed decision. In a statistical analysis of the survey data, the researchers found that a positive parental attitude towards vaccination, a parental belief that HPV vaccination had limited impact on sexual practices, and completed childhood vaccination increased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the HPV vaccine. Having a family with two parents or three or more children and having well-educated parents decreased the likelihood of a daughter receiving the vaccine.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide one of the first population-based assessments of the factors that affect HPV vaccine uptake in a setting where there are no financial or health care barriers to vaccination. By identifying the factors associated with parental reluctance to agree to HPV vaccination for their daughters, these findings should help public-health officials design strategies to ensure optimal HPV vaccine uptake, although further studies are needed to discover why, for example, parents with more education are less likely to agree to vaccination than parents with less education. Importantly, the findings of this study, which are likely to be generalizable to other high-income countries, indicate that there is a continued need to ensure that the public receives credible, clear information about both the benefits and long-term safety of HPV vaccination.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000270.
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about cervical cancer for patients and for health professionals, including information on HPV vaccines (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about cervical cancer and about HPV
The UK National Health Service Choices website has pages on cervical cancer and on HPV vaccination
More information about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination is available from the Macmillan cancer charity
ImmunizeBC provides general information about vaccination and information about HPV vaccination in British Columbia
MedlinePlus provides links to additional resources about cervical cancer (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000270
PMCID: PMC2864299  PMID: 20454567
21.  Papanicolaou test utilization and frequency of screening opportunities among women diagnosed with cervical cancer 
Open Medicine  2009;3(3):e140-e147.
Background
Although the importance of Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test screening in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer is well established, in 1994–95 one in 4 women in Manitoba aged 18 to 69 years reported never having had a Pap test or not having had a Pap test in the last 3 years. The objectives of this study were to examine the screening history of women in Manitoba diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer and to explore whether opportunities for screening were missed.
Methods
In this case-control study women aged 18 years and older who resided in Manitoba and were diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer between 1989 and 2001 were each matched by age and area of residence to 5 controls, (N = 4009). Conditional logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between Pap test utilization and the likelihood of diagnosis with invasive cervical cancer. Generalized linear models using the negative binomial distribution were used to assess the association between cancer status and rates of prior Pap testing and of opportunities to be screened. Logistic generalized estimating equation models were used for the analysis of physician characteristics.
Results
Forty-six percent of women in Manitoba diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer and 67% of the control group had received a Pap test in the 5 years before the case’s diagnosis. After adjustment for age, income and residence, the rate of Pap testing was significantly higher in the control group (rate ratio [RR] = 1.57, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.44–1.73). Conversely, when cervical cancer was the outcome, women who had not had Pap tests were more likely to be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer (odds ratio [OR] = 2.77, 95% CI 2.30–3.30) than women who did have a Pap test. Although women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer had fewer Pap tests, they had had as many opportunities to be screened as controls (RR = 1.04, 95% CI 0.96–1.12). Compared with urban family physicians, rural family physicians were less likely to provide Pap tests (OR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.58–0.80) and specialists were more likely to provide Pap tests (OR = 1.70, 95% CI 1.30–2.22).
Conclusions
Women who were diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in the province of Manitoba, Canada, had fewer Pap tests but the same frequency of opportunities to be screened as matched controls. These results reinforce the need to educate women about cervical cancer screening and the importance of receiving Pap tests.
PMCID: PMC3090124  PMID: 21603052
22.  Knowledge, practice, and barriers toward cervical cancer screening in Elmina, Southern Ghana 
Aims
The aims of this study were: 1) to assess the level of knowledge of women about Pap smear tests, 2) to determine the practices of women regarding Pap smear tests, and 3) to determine the barriers to Pap smear tests in Elmina, Ghana.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted with 392 randomly selected sexually active females aged 10–74 years using structured interview questions. The Institutional Review Board of the University of Cape Coast gave ethical approval for the study and informed consent was obtained from participants. Data were analyzed with SPSS software (v19.0) using frequencies, chi-square test, and exploratory factor analysis.
Results
The results revealed that 68.4% had never heard about cervical cancer, 93.6% had no knowledge on the risk factors, nine (2.3%) reported multiple sexual partners and being sexually active as risk factors, and 92% did not know about the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer. The majority (97.7%) had never heard of the Pap smear test. Only three (0.8%) women out of 392 had had a Pap smear test. Reasons for seeking a Pap smear test included referral, fear of cervical cancer, and radio campaigns. A significant association was found between institutional and personal barriers and having a Pap smear test.
Conclusion
Comprehensive education on cervical cancer screening and removal of access barriers are critical in reducing risk associated with the disease and promoting women’s health.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S71797
PMCID: PMC4284003  PMID: 25565902
women; cervical screening; awareness; factors; community; developing countries
23.  Acceptability and Correlates of Primary and Secondary Prevention of Cervical Cancer among Medical Students in Southwest China: Implications for Cancer Education 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e110353.
Objectives
To understand knowledge about, and acceptability of, cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccines among medical students; and to explore potential factors that influence their acceptability in China.
Methods
We conducted a survey among medical students at six universities across southwest China using a 58-item questionnaire regarding knowledge and perceptions of HPV, cervical cancer, and HPV vaccines.
Results
We surveyed 1878 medical students with a mean age of 20.8 years (standard deviation: 1.3 years). Of these, 48.8% and 80.1% believed cervical cancer can be prevented by HPV vaccines and screening respectively, while 60.2% and 71.2% would like to receive or recommend HPV vaccines and screening. 35.4% thought HPV vaccines ought to be given to adolescents aged 13–18 years. 32% stated that women should start to undergo screening from the age of 25. 49.2% felt that women should receive screening every year. Concern about side effects (38.3% and 39.8%), and inadequate information (42.4% and 35.0%) were the most cited barriers to receiving or recommending HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening. Females were more likely to accept HPV vaccines (OR, 1.86; 95% CI: 1.47–2.35) or cervical cancer screening (OR, 3.69; 95% CI: 2.88–4.74). Students with a higher level of related knowledge were much more willing to receive or recommend vaccines (P<0.001) or screening (P<0.001). Students who showed negative or uncertain attitudes towards premarital sex were less likely to accept either HPV vaccines (OR, 0.67; 95% CI: 0.47–0.96), or screening (OR, 0.68; 0.47–0.10). Non-clinical students showed lower acceptability of cervical screening compared to students in clinical medicine (OR, 0.74; 95% CI: 0.56–0.96).
Conclusions
The acceptability of HPV vaccines and cervical cancer screening is relatively low among medical students in southwest China. Measures should be taken to improve knowledge about cervical cancer and awareness of HPV vaccines and screening among medical students at university.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110353
PMCID: PMC4215919  PMID: 25360743
24.  Medical Students' Exposure to and Attitudes about the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(5):e1001037.
A systematic review of published studies reveals that undergraduate medical students may experience substantial exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, and that this contact may be associated with positive attitudes about marketing.
Background
The relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has become a source of controversy. Physicians' attitudes towards the industry can form early in their careers, but little is known about this key stage of development.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review reported according to PRISMA guidelines to determine the frequency and nature of medical students' exposure to the drug industry, as well as students' attitudes concerning pharmaceutical policy issues. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and ERIC from the earliest available dates through May 2010, as well as bibliographies of selected studies. We sought original studies that reported quantitative or qualitative data about medical students' exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, their attitudes about marketing practices, relationships with industry, and related pharmaceutical policy issues. Studies were separated, where possible, into those that addressed preclinical versus clinical training, and were quality rated using a standard methodology. Thirty-two studies met inclusion criteria. We found that 40%–100% of medical students reported interacting with the pharmaceutical industry. A substantial proportion of students (13%–69%) were reported as believing that gifts from industry influence prescribing. Eight studies reported a correlation between frequency of contact and favorable attitudes toward industry interactions. Students were more approving of gifts to physicians or medical students than to government officials. Certain attitudes appeared to change during medical school, though a time trend was not performed; for example, clinical students (53%–71%) were more likely than preclinical students (29%–62%) to report that promotional information helps educate about new drugs.
Conclusions
Undergraduate medical education provides substantial contact with pharmaceutical marketing, and the extent of such contact is associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism about negative implications of these interactions. These results support future research into the association between exposure and attitudes, as well as any modifiable factors that contribute to attitudinal changes during medical education.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The complex relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has long been a subject of discussion among physicians and policymakers. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that physicians' interactions with pharmaceutical sales representatives may influence clinical decision making in a way that is not always in the best interests of individual patients, for example, encouraging the use of expensive treatments that have no therapeutic advantage over less costly alternatives. The pharmaceutical industry often uses physician education as a marketing tool, as in the case of Continuing Medical Education courses that are designed to drive prescribing practices.
One reason that physicians may be particularly susceptible to pharmaceutical industry marketing messages is that doctors' attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry may form early in their careers. The socialization effect of professional schooling is strong, and plays a lasting role in shaping views and behaviors.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recently, particularly in the US, some medical schools have limited students' and faculties' contact with industry, but some have argued that these restrictions are detrimental to students' education. Given the controversy over the pharmaceutical industry's role in undergraduate medical training, consolidating current knowledge in this area may be useful for setting priorities for changes to educational practices. In this study, the researchers systematically examined studies of pharmaceutical industry interactions with medical students and whether such interactions influenced students' views on related topics.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers did a comprehensive literature search using appropriate search terms for all relevant quantitative and qualitative studies published before June 2010. Using strict inclusion criteria, the researchers then selected 48 articles (from 1,603 abstracts) for full review and identified 32 eligible for analysis—giving a total of approximately 9,850 medical students studying at 76 medical schools or hospitals.
Most students had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry but contact increased in the clinical years, with up to 90% of all clinical students receiving some form of educational material. The highest level of exposure occurred in the US. In most studies, the majority of students in their clinical training years found it ethically permissible for medical students to accept gifts from drug manufacturers, while a smaller percentage of preclinical students reported such attitudes. Students justified their entitlement to gifts by citing financial hardship or by asserting that most other students accepted gifts. In addition, although most students believed that education from industry sources is biased, students variably reported that information obtained from industry sources was useful and a valuable part of their education.
Almost two-thirds of students reported that they were immune to bias induced by promotion, gifts, or interactions with sales representatives but also reported that fellow medical students or doctors are influenced by such encounters. Eight studies reported a relationship between exposure to the pharmaceutical industry and positive attitudes about industry interactions and marketing strategies (although not all included supportive statistical data). Finally, student opinions were split on whether physician–industry interactions should be regulated by medical schools or the government.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This analysis shows that students are frequently exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, even in the preclinical years, and that the extent of students' contact with industry is generally associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism towards any negative implications of interactions with industry. Therefore, strategies to educate students about interactions with the pharmaceutical industry should directly address widely held misconceptions about the effects of marketing and other biases that can emerge from industry interactions. But education alone may be insufficient. Institutional policies, such as rules regulating industry interactions, can play an important role in shaping students' attitudes, and interventions that decrease students' contact with industry and eliminate gifts may have a positive effect on building the skills that evidence-based medical practice requires. These changes can help cultivate strong professional values and instill in students a respect for scientific principles and critical evidence review that will later inform clinical decision-making and prescribing practices.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037.
Further information about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on doctors and medical students can be found at the American Medical Students Association PharmFree campaign and PharmFree Scorecard, Medsin-UKs PharmAware campaign, the nonprofit organization Healthy Skepticism, and the Web site of No Free Lunch.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037
PMCID: PMC3101205  PMID: 21629685
25.  Prospective study of predictors of attendance for breast screening in inner London. 
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the predictors of first-round attendance for breast screening in an inner city area. DESIGN--Prospective design in which women were interviewed or completed a postal questionnaire before being sent their invitation for breast screening. Sociodemographic factors, health behaviours, and attitudes, beliefs, and intentions were used as predictors of subsequent attendance. A randomised control group was included to assess the effect of being interviewed on attendance. SETTING--Three neighbouring health districts in inner south east London. PARTICIPANTS--A total of 3291 women aged 50-64 years who were due to be called for breast screening for the first time. The analysis of predictors was based on a subsample of 1301, reflecting a response rate of 75% to interview and 36% to postal questionnaire. MAIN RESULTS--Attendance was 42% overall, and 70% in those who gave an interview or returned a questionnaire. There was little evidence for an interview effect on attendance. The main findings from the analysis of predictors are listed below. (These were necessarily based on those women who responded to interview/questionnaire and so may not be generalisable to the full sample.) (1) Sociodemographic factors: Women in rented accommodation were less likely to go for screening but other indicators of social class and education were not predictive of attendance. Age and other risk factors for breast cancer were unrelated to attendance, as was the distance between home and the screening centre. Married or single women were more likely to attend than divorced, separated, or widowed women, and black women had a higher than average attendance rate; however, neither of these relationships was found in the interview sample. (2) Health behaviours: Attenders were less likely to have had a recent breast screen, more likely to have had a cervical smear, more likely to go to the dentist for check ups, and differed from non-attenders with regard to drinking frequency. Exercise, smoking, diet change, and breast self-examination were unrelated to attendance. (3) Attitudes, beliefs, and intentions: The two best predictors were measures of the perceived importance of regular screening for cervical and breast cancer and intentions to go for breast screening. Also predictive were beliefs about the following: the personal consequences of going for breast screening, the effectiveness of breast screening, the chances of getting breast cancer, and the attitudes of significant others (the woman's husband/partner and children). Women who reported a moderate amount of worry about breast cancer were more likely to attend than those at the two extremes. CONCLUSIONS--Attenders and non-attenders differ in two broad areas: the health related behaviours they engage in and the attitudes, beliefs, and intentions they have towards breast cancer and breast screening. The latter are potentially amenable to change, and though different factors may operate among women who do not respond to questionnaires, the findings offer hope that attendance rates can be improved by targeting the relevant attitudes and beliefs. This could be done by changing the invitation letter and its accompanying literature, through national and local publicity campaigns, and by advice given by GPs, practice nurses, and other health professionals. It is essential that such interventions are properly evaluated, preferably in randomised controlled studies.
PMCID: PMC1059897  PMID: 8138773

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