Background and Objective
Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality amongst the gynecological cancers worldwide, especially in developing countries. It is imperative for at least health professionals in developing countries like Pakistan to have a sound knowledge about the disease. This study was carried out to assess the knowledge and awareness about cervical cancer and its prevention amongst health professionals in tertiary care hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods and Design
A cross-sectional, interview based survey was conducted in June, 2009. Sample of 400 was divided between the three tertiary care centers. Convenience sampling was applied as no definitive data was available regarding the number of registered interns and nurses at each center.
Of all the interviews conducted, 1.8% did not know cervical cancer as a disease. Only 23.3% of the respondents were aware that cervical cancer is the most common cause of gynecological cancers and 26% knew it is second in rank in mortality. Seventy-eight percent were aware that infection is the most common cause of cervical cancer, of these 62% said that virus is the cause and 61% of the respondents knew that the virus is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Majority recognized that it is sexually transmitted but only a minority (41%) knew that it can be detected by PCR. Only 26% of the study population was aware of one or more risk factors. Thirty seven percent recognized Pap smear as a screening test. In total only 37 out of 400 respondents were aware of the HPV vaccine.
This study serves to highlight that the majority of working health professionals are not adequately equipped with knowledge concerning cervical cancer. Continuing Medical Education program should be started at the hospital level along with conferences to spread knowledge about this disease.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cervical cancer; Pap smear; Nurses; Screening techniques
To determine the baseline information about the knowledge of cervical cancer and explore attitude and practice of Pap smear screening among staff nurses.
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.
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.
Despite knowledge of the gravity of cervical cancer and prevention by screening, attitudes and practices towards screening were negative.
Cervical cancer; Pap smear; Screening attitude
Cancer of the uterine cervix is the most common malignancy amongst women in India. Identification of its pre-cancerous lesions and prevention by HPV vaccine may go a long way in decreasing the incidence.
The aim was to study the awareness about the various aspects of the HPV infection and vaccine among medical students.
Settings and Design:
It was a cross-sectional study conducted in a tertiary care hospital of Delhi.
Materials and Methods:
150 medical students aged between 18-25 years were requested to complete a 35 point questionnaire regarding cervical malignancy, HPV infection, HPV vaccine and the answers were then analyzed.
None of the students knew the correct incidence of cervical cancer in India and 18% of them did not know that the HPV vaccination prevents cervical cancer and 50% thought that vaccination induces false sense of security. Fifty percent were unaware of HPV infection and its association with other STD's and cervical cancer. The information regarding the mechanism of action, dosage, schedule and cost of the HPV vaccine was lacking in majority of them. The limitation of this study is that it does not reflect the knowledge or awareness of a layman or full-fledged medical doctor.
To conclude gaps in knowledge regarding HPV infection and vaccination existed amongst the medical students and a more integrated teaching regarding HPV carcinogenesis, vaccination and cervical cancer needs to be introduced.
Awareness; human papillomavirus infection; human papillomavirus vaccine
Cervical cancer is the commonest malignancy among women in developing countries. Cytological screening (Pap smear) have been claimed to reduce incidence and mortality of carcinoma cervix significantly for which sensitization of women is required through community-based approach.
To find out number of cervical cancer cases among patients reporting to a general health care camp through screening program and study the prevalence of perceived morbidity and its confirmation.
Cross-sectional study among women attending cancer awareness camps.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 435 women attending cancer awareness camps were screened for carcinoma cervix. The findings of history and clinical examination were recorded. Pap smears of all the symptomatic patients were collected and cytological diagnosis was confirmed by a pathologist.
Results and Conclusions:
The perceived gynecological morbidity was observed to be 59.8%. The smear of the women who were suspected of carcinoma on clinical examination was confirmed to be the cases of carcinoma-in-situ (7.8%) and high-grade neoplasia (2.9%) on laboratory investigations. The findings of the study highlight the utility and need of cancer cervix screening among the women at regular intervals through camp approach in the community.
Camp approach; cancer cervix; community-based; screening
Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer of women in Uganda. Over 80% of women diagnosed in Mulago national referral and teaching hospital, the biggest hospital in Uganda, have advanced disease. Pap smear screening, on opportunistic rather than systematic basis, is offered free in the gynaecological outpatients clinic and the postnatal/family planning clinics. Medical students in the third and final clerkships are expected to learn the techniques of screening. Objectives of this study were to describe knowledge on cervical cancer, attitudes and practices towards cervical cancer screening among the medical workers of Mulago hospital.
In a descriptive cross-sectional study, a weighted sample of 310 medical workers including nurses, doctors and final year medical students were interviewed using a self-administered questionnaire. We measured knowledge about cervical cancer: (risk factors, eligibility for screening and screening techniques), attitudes towards cervical cancer screening and practices regarding screening.
Response rate was 92% (285). Of these, 93% considered cancer of the cervix a public health problem and knowledge about Pap smear was 83% among respondents. Less than 40% knew risk factors for cervical cancer, eligibility for and screening interval. Of the female respondents, 65% didn't feel susceptible to cervical cancer and 81% had never been screened. Of the male respondents, only 26% had partners who had ever been screened. Only 14% of the final year medical students felt skilled enough to use a vaginal speculum and 87% had never performed a pap smear.
Despite knowledge of the gravity of cervical cancer and prevention by screening using a Pap smear, attitudes and practices towards screening were negative. The medical workers who should be responsible for opportunistic screening of women they care for are not keen on getting screened themselves. There is need to explain/understand the cause of these attitudes and practices and identify possible interventions to change them. Medical students leave medical school without adequate skills to be able to effectively screen women for cervical cancer wherever they go to practice. Medical students and nurses training curricula needs review to incorporate practical skills on cervical cancer screening.
In Malawi, cervical cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer among women, with an 80% mortality rate. The Mulanje Mission Hospital has offered free cervical cancer screening for eight years; however, patients primarily seek medical help for gynecologic complaints after the disease is inoperable.
We investigated how women in rural Malawi make health-seeking decisions regarding cervical cancer screening using qualitative research methods. The study was conducted between May and August of 2009 in Mulanje, Malawi.
This study found that the primary cue to action for cervical cancer screening was symptoms of cervical cancer. Major barriers to seeking preventative screening included low knowledge levels, low perceived susceptibility and low perceived benefits from the service. Study participants did not view cervical cancer screening as critical health care. Interviews suggested that use of the service could increase if women are recruited while visiting the hospital for a different service.
This study recommends that health care providers and health educators target aspects of perceived susceptibility among their patients, including knowledge levels and personal risk assessment. We believe that continued support and advertisement of cervical cancer screening programs along with innovative recruitment strategies will increase usage density and decrease unnecessary deaths from cervical cancer in Malawi.
cervical cancer; interviews; health care; Mulanje Mission Hospital
Cervical cancer still remains the most common cancer affecting the Indian women. India alone contributes 25.41% and 26.48% of the global burden of cervical cancer cases and mortality, respectively. Ironically, unlike most other cancers, cervical cancer can be prevented through screening by identifying and treating the precancerous lesions, any time during the course of its long natural history, thus preventing the potential progression to cervical carcinoma. Several screening methods, both traditional and newer technologies, are available to screen women for cervical precancers and cancers. No screening test is perfect and hence the choice of screening test will depend on the setting where it is to be used. Similarly, various methods are available for treatment of cervical precancers and the selection will depend on the cost, morbidity, requirement of reliable biopsy specimens, resources available, etc. The recommendations of screening for cervical cancer in the Indian scenario are discussed.
Cervix cancer; colposcopy; early detection; precancer; prevention; screening; visual examination
Cervical cancer remains to be one of the leading malignancies among Filipino women. High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types, such as 16 and 18, are consistently identified in Filipino women with cervical cancer. Factors identified to increase the likelihood of HPV infection and subsequent development of cervical cancer include young age at first intercourse, low socioeconomic status, high parity, smoking, use of oral contraception and risky sexual behaviors. Cancer screening programs presently available in the Philippines include Pap smears, single visit approach utilizing visual inspection with acetic acid followed by cryotherapy, as well as colposcopy. However, the uptake of screening remains low and is further compounded by the lack of basic knowledge women have regarding screening as an opportunity for prevention of cervical cancer. Prophylactic HPV vaccination of both quadrivalent and bivalent vaccines has already been approved in the Philippines and is gaining popularity among the Filipinos. However, there has been no national or government vaccination policy implemented as of yet. The standard of treatment of cervical cancer is radiotherapy concurrent with chemotherapy. Current researches are directed towards improving availability of both preventive and curative measures of cervical cancer management.
Cervical cancer; Epidemiology; Screening; Human papillomavirus vaccines
Cervical cancer is the first most common cancer in women in sub-Saharan Africa followed by breast cancer. In Ethiopia, the incidence of cervical cancer is high i.e. 35.9 per 100,000 women. Low level of awareness, lack of effective screening programs, overshadowed by other health priorities (such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome, tuberculosis and malaria) and insufficient attention to women’s health are the possible factors for the observed higher incidence rate of cervical cancers in the country. Data on knowledge of Ethiopian women regarding cervical cancer is lacking. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge of women about cervical cancer and associated factors.
A community based cross-sectional survey was conducted from April 4-16, 2010 in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia. A total of 633 women aged 15 years and above were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaire by 8 trained data collectors and 2 supervisors. SPSS Windows version 15.0 was employed for data entry and analysis.
Of all the respondents, 495 (78.7%) of them had heard about cervical cancer and only 195 (31%) of them were knowledgeable about the disease.
The knowledge of women on cervical cancer was found to be poor. Education about the disease must include information on risk factors, sign and symptoms of cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer; Women; Knowledge
Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in women in developing countries. A key factor linked to the relatively high levels of cervical cancer in these populations is the lack of awareness and access to preventive methods. This study aimed to determine the level of awareness of cervical cancer and Papanicolaou test (Pap smear test) and factors associated with the utilization of Pap test among female civil servants in Jos. Data was obtained from female workers (n = 388) aged 18–65 years in a Nigerian Federal establishment. Participants were randomly approached and instructed to complete validated questionnaires. Data was analyzed using Chi-square, t-tests and logistic regression analysis to determine if there was an association between variables and identify any predictors of awareness and utilization of the Pap test. Cervical cancer and Pap smear test awareness was 50.9% and 38.6% respectively, with the media as the major source of information. Pap smear test utilization rate was 10.2%, with routine antenatal care (ANC) as the major reason for getting screened. Personal barriers to screening include the lack of awareness, and belief that cervical cancer is not preventable. Opportunistic screening, mass media campaigns and ANC education were suggested as ways of improving awareness and utilization of cervical cancer screening services.
The success of HPV vaccination programs will require awareness regarding HPV associated diseases and the benefits of HPV vaccination for the general population. The aim of this study was to assess the level of awareness and knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, cervical cancer prevention, vaccines, and factors associated with HPV awareness among young women after birth of the first child.
This analysis is part of a cross-sectional study carried out at Hospital Maternidade Leonor Mendes de Barros, a large public maternity hospital in Sao Paulo. Primiparous women (15-24 years) who gave birth in that maternity hospital were included. A questionnaire that included questions concerning knowledge of HPV, cervical cancer, and vaccines was applied. To estimate the association of HPV awareness with selected factors, prevalence ratios (PR) were estimated using a generalized linear model (GLM).
Three hundred and one primiparous women were included; 37% of them reported that they "had ever heard about HPV", but only 19% and 7%, respectively, knew that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and that it can cause cervical cancer. Seventy-four percent of interviewees mentioned the preventive character of vaccines and all participants affirmed that they would accept HPV vaccination after delivery. In the multivariate analysis, only increasing age (P for trend = 0.021) and previous STI (P < 0.001) were factors independently associated with HPV awareness ("had ever heard about HPV").
This survey indicated that knowledge about the association between HPV and cervical cancer among primiparous young women is low. Therefore, these young low-income primiparous women could benefit greatly from educational interventions to encourage primary and secondary cervical cancer prevention programs.
Cervical cancer, a potentially preventable disease, remains the second most common malignancy in women worldwide. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the single most important etiological agent in cervical cancer, contributing to neoplastic progression through the action of viral oncoproteins, mainly E6 and E7. Cervical screening programs using Pap smear testing have dramatically improved cervical cancer incidence and reduced deaths, but cervical cancer still remains a global health burden. The biomarker discovery for accurate detection and diagnosis of cervical carcinoma and its malignant precursors (collectively referred to as high-grade cervical disease) represents one of the current challenges in clinical medicine and cytopathology.
Cervical cancer; Human papillomavirus (HPV); biomarker
Cancer of the cervix is twice as likely to occur among Alaska Native women than among Caucasian women in the United State. To understand some of the factors associated with this high incidence, a random sample of 528 Alaska Native women were surveyed about their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior regarding cervical cancer and its risk factors. From the results of the Alaska Native Women's Health Project study, the need for more public education related to cervical cancer prevention was identified. A review of existing educational resources revealed that no culturally appropriate materials related to cervical cancer had been developed for Alaska Native women. To increase Native women's knowledge about cervical cancer and to motivate them to obtain annual Papanicolaou tests, a 12-minute videotape presentation was developed specifically for this population. The videotape portrayed Alaska Native women as role models from the community discussing cervical cancer and Papanicolaou tests and engaging in healthy lifestyles. The videotape was pilot tested with several groups of Alaska Native women. The women were surveyed before and after watching the video and were asked to rate the tape and make comments about it. The results of the posttest demonstrated a significant increase in the knowledge level of the participants. The videotape was well received because of its cultural sensitivity and appropriateness. On the basis of this study, the development of additional culturally appropriate educational materials related to cancer prevention of Alaska Native women is recommended.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women in India and other developing country settings are living longer on antiretroviral therapy, yet their risk for human papillomavirus (HPV)-induced cervical cancer remains unabated because of lack of cost-effective and accurate secondary prevention methods. Visual inspection after application of dilute acetic acid on the cervix (VIA) has not been adequately studied against the current standard: conventional cervical cytology (Pap smears) among HIV-infected women. We evaluated 303 nonpregnant HIV-infected women in Pune, India, by simultaneous and independent screening with VIA and cervical cytology with disease ascertainment by colposcopy and histopathology. At the cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2+) disease threshold, the sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive value estimates of VIA were 80, 82.6, 47.6 and 95.4% respectively, compared to 60.5, 59.6, 22.4 and 88.7% for the atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or severe (ASCUS+) cutoff on cytology, 60.5, 64.6, 24.8 and 89.4% for the low-grade squamous intraepithelial cells or severe (LSIL+) cutoff on cytology and 20.9, 96.0, 50.0 and 86.3% for high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion or severe (HSIL+) cutoff on cytology. A similar pattern of results was found for women with the presence of carcinogenic HPV-positive CIN2+ disease, as well as for women with CD4+ cell counts <200 and <350 µL−1. Overall, VIA performed better than cytology in this study with biologically rigorous endpoints and without verification bias, suggesting that VIA is a practical and useful alternative or adjunctive screening test for HIV-infected women. Implementing VIA-based screening within HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome care programs may provide an easy and practical means of complementing the highly anticipated low-cost HPV-based rapid screening tests in the near future, thereby contributing to improve program effectiveness of screening.
cervical cancer; visual inspection; cytology; screening; HIV/AIDS; India
Objective. Vietnamese American women are at the greatest risk for cervical cancer but have the lowest cervical cancer screening rates. This study was to determine whether demographic and acculturation, healthcare access, and knowledge and beliefs are associated with a prior history of cervical cancer screening among Vietnamese women. Methods. Vietnamese women (n = 1450) from 30 Vietnamese community-based organizations located in Pennsylvania and New Jersey participated in the study and completed baseline assessments. Logistic regression analyses were performed. Results. Overall levels of knowledge about cervical cancer screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) are low. Factors in knowledge, attitude, and beliefs domains were significantly associated with Pap test behavior. In multivariate analyses, physician recommendation for screening and having health insurance were positively associated with prior screening. Conclusion. Understanding the factors that are associated with cervical cancer screening will inform the development of culturally appropriate intervention strategies that would potentially lead to increasing cervical cancer screening rates among Vietnamese women.
Although it is widely accepted that Papanicolaou (Pap) screening can reduce cervical cancer mortality, many women still do not maintain regular cervical cancer screenings.
To describe the prevalence of cervical cancer screening and the demographic, behavioral, psychological, and cancer-related knowledge factors associated with adherence to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) cervical cancer screening guidelines among women in the United States.
Data for women aged 25–64 were obtained from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Women were considered adherent to screening guidelines if they had two consecutive, on-schedule screenings and planned to have another within the next 3 years. The sample comprised 2070 women.
Ninety-eight percent of women reported ever having a Pap smear, 90% reported having had a recent Pap smear (within 3 years), and 84% were adherent to USPSTF screening guidelines. Maintaining regular cervical cancer screening was significantly associated with having health insurance, normal body mass index (BMI), smoking status (nonsmoker), mood (absence of a mood disturbance), and being knowledgeable about cervical cancer screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Based on the observation that women who were current smokers, obese, or experiencing a substantial degree of psychological distress were significantly less likely to adhere to recommended screening guidelines, we suggest that healthcare providers pay particular attention to the screening needs of these more vulnerable women.
The number of cases of intraepithelial carcinoma of the cervix among women of different age groups has been related to the number of cervical smears from women of the same age groups. Among women aged 25 to 34 years the incidence of intraepithelial carcinoma was 0·67% and among those aged 35 to 44 years it was 0·75%. The overall rate of intraepithelial carcinoma in women under 35 years was 0·55% compared with an overall rate of 0·59% in women over 35 years.
If screening of women for cervical cancer is to play any part in preventive medicine it is suggested that the national campaign for the early detection of cervical cancer should be expanded to encourage practitioners to take cervical smears from younger women, particularly from those under 35 years.
The uterine cervix is the second most common site of cancer among Indian women.Though the human papillomavirus has been demonstrated to be a causative agent for this cancer, a variety of other risk factors are in play, such as sexual and reproductive patterns, socioeconomic, hygienic practices, and diet. The accumulated evidence suggests that cervical cancer is preventable and is highly suitable for primary prevention. The dietary intake of antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin C, folacin and tocopherol is found to have protective effects against cancer of the cervix. Dietary data regarding cervical cancer are still scanty.
The present study was therefore undertaken to study the dietary pattern among uterine cervical cancer patients and normal controls.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 60 consecutive patients and 60 controls were enrolled from a referral hospital during the year 2004. A schedule inclusive of the food frequency pattern and 24-h dietary recall along with the general information was administered to all the enrolled subjects to describe findings on the food consumption pattern along with other important factors.
The mean intake of energy, protein, vitamins, etc., between the cases and controls was not significantly different except for the vitamin C level. Serum vitamin E was found to have lower average in patients as compared to controls. The nutrient intake of cervical cancer patients and controls was grossly deficient in the socioeconomic group studied. With regard to the macronutrient intake, calorie and protein intakes showed a deficit of around 50% when compared to RDA.
The food consumption profile was not significantly different between cervical cancer patients and normal controls.
Cervical cancer; food consumption; low socioeconomic women
To evaluate outcomes of cervical cancer screening within HIV care and treatment clinics in Kenya.
Beginning in October 2007, visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), colposcopy, and loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) were added to the clinical services offered at Family AIDS Care and Education Services (FACES) clinics in Kisumu, Kenya, after a systematic campaign to build capacity and community awareness.
From October 2007 to October 2010, 3642 women underwent VIA as part of routine HIV care. Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2/3 was identified in 259 (7.1%) women, who were offered excisional treatment by LEEP in the clinic. Among those women offered screening, uptake was 87%. Clinical staff reported a high level of satisfaction with training for and implementation of cervical cancer screening strategies.
Cervical cancer screening and prevention are feasible, acceptable, and effective within HIV care and treatment clinics. Screening test performance characteristics need to be defined for an HIV-positive population to determine the cost/benefit ratio of lower cost strategies that will ultimately be necessary to provide universal access to cervical cancer screening in low-resource settings.
Cervical cancer screening; HIV; Kenya; Resource-limited setting
Oral cancer is as prevalent as cervical and testicular cancer in the United Kingdom. Nursing staff provide the oral health care for the patient population in hospital. Admission to hospital provides a 'window of opportunity' for oral cancer 'screening' via an oral health check during nursing clerking. This study aimed to investigate whether nursing staff are aware of risk factors for oral cancer, its clinical signs, and could therefore provide a 'screening' service for oral cancer.
Through the use of a questionnaire we assessed 121 nursing staff on oral health check behaviour and attitudes; their knowledge of risk factors for oral cancer; their understanding of common clinical signs of oral cancer; and their undergraduate and postgraduate training in oral health and oral cancer.
Over 80% thought oral health checks were important although only 49% performed this task regularly; approximately 70% identified smoking as a risk factor but less than 30% identified alcohol. Awareness of the clinical signs of oral cancer was low with 21% identifying white patches, 15% identifying ulceration and only 2% identifying red patches despite their malignant potential. Nurses within 3 years of qualification were significantly better at recognising risk factors for oral cancer than their colleagues, identifying a need for continuing postgraduate education on oral health and oral cancer. Sixty-one percent of nursing staff received oral healthcare as an undergraduate with 34 percent receiving postgraduate training.
An oral health check upon admission to hospital provides an opportunity for nurses to 'screen' for oral diseases including oral cancer and allows nurses a greater role in total patient care. Nurses' awareness of oral cancer risk factors and clinical signs was, however, poor. This study highlights a need for improved education of nurses on oral cancer to make the oral health check on admission viable for oral cancer screening.
Invasive cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide, with approximately 85% of the disease burden occurring in developing countries. To date, there have been few systematic efforts to document African women's conceptualization of cervical cancer after participation in a visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA)-based “see and treat” cervical cancer prevention program. In this study, conducted between September, 2009-July, 2010, focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted with 60 women who had recently undergone cervical cancer screening at a government-operated primary health care clinic in Lusaka, Zambia. Interviewers elicited participants' causal representations of cervical cancer, associated physical signs and symptoms, perceived physical and psychological effects, and social norms regarding the disease. The lay model of illness causation portrayed by participants after recent exposure to program promotion messages departed in several ways from causal models described in other parts of the world. However, causal conceptualizations included both lay and biomedical elements, suggesting a possible shift from a purely traditional causal model to one that incorporates both traditional concepts and recently promoted biomedical concepts. Most, but not all, women still equated cervical cancer with death, and perceived it to be a highly stigmatized disease in Zambia because of its anatomic location, dire natural course, connections to socially-condemned behaviors, and association with HIV/AIDS. No substantive differences of disease conceptualization existed according to HIV serostatus, though HIV positive women acknowledged that their immune status makes them more aware of their health and more likely to seek medical attention. Further attention should be dedicated to the processes by which women incorporate new knowledge into their representations of cervical cancer.
Zambia; cervical cancer; mass screening; HIV; social representations; access to care; retention into care; women; stigma
Doubts have frequently been expressed about the effectiveness of the screening programme for cervical cancer in Britain. These doubts have been reinforced as a result of recent increases in mortality from this disease among younger women. In this paper we discuss trends in registration and mortality data, relate these to the level of screening, and conclude that screening may in fact have had a considerable impact on mortality rates. There is good evidence that in some age groups there has been a large increase in the incidence of carcinoma in situ of the cervix; it seems likely that the potential increase in cervical cancer incidence and mortality may have been partially prevented as a result of the screening programme. The extent of this effect cannot be quantified precisely because of uncertainties concerning the natural history of cervical cancer, differences in risk for different cohorts, and the possible effects of other factors. It is likely that incidence rates will continue to change, and it will be necessary to monitor these and the screening programme with some care in order to make the best use of the resources available for cervical cytology.
Estimates of the percentage of women who have had Pap smears in Peru vary between 7% and 43%. This study explores what women know about cervical cancer and Pap smears, as well as their barriers to obtaining Pap smears. Focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted with a total of 177 women in four Peruvian cities. Discussions reveal that most women did not know what causes cervical cancer. Most women did not know the purpose of Pap smears, although knowledge about Pap smears was higher than knowledge about cervical cancer. Fear, embarrassment, and lack of knowledge were the main barriers identified for not getting Pap smears. Programs and policies aiming to increase Pap smear coverage must start by educating women on cervical cancer and its prevention in order to improve women's perceptions about the screening test and increase Pap smear seeking behaviors in the long term.