Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 238-243

Cervical cancer awareness and cervical screening uptake at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Afikpo, Southeast Nigeria

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki; Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Afikpo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria; University of Pretoria, South Africa
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Justus N Eze
P. O. Box 323, Agulu 422102, Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.102856

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Background: Cervical cancer is the most common genital tract malignancy among women in developing countries. Objective: To assess the awareness of cervical cancer among Igbo women in a rural population of Southeastern Nigerian and determine their uptake of cervical screening services. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based descriptive cross-sectional study. Structured questionnaires were administered to female attendees to the antenatal and gynecological clinics of a secondary hospital in the outskirts of Afikpo, Southeast Nigeria over a six-month period (1 st July to 31 st December 2007). Data analysis was by SPSS. Results: Five hundred questionnaires were given out. Three hundred and sixty were correctly filled (72%) and analyzed. The mean age of respondents was 36.2 years, 25.0% had tertiary education and 40.3% were self employed. All the respondents were sexually active. There were high incidences of premarital sex, multiple sexual partners and abnormal vaginal discharge and low condom use. Awareness of cervical cancer (37.5%), its preventable nature (31.9%), cervical screening (25%) and screening centers (20.8%) were generally low and screening uptake (0.6%) was abysmally low. Lack of awareness, non-availability of screening centers locally, cost and time were the main reasons adduced by respondents for not being screened. Overall, 62.5% of all the respondents indicated willingness to be screened. Conclusion: The exposure to conditions that predispose women to cervical cancer was high, and the levels of awareness of cervical cancer and cervical screening uptake were low. Continued awareness creation, local provision of cheap and affordable services and poverty alleviation are needed to improve cervical screening uptake with the hope of reducing the incidence of cervical cancer in the long term.

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