Pap Smear Screening, the Way Forward for Prevention of Cervical Cancer? A Community Based Study in the Buea Health District, Cameroon

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Cancer of the cervix is the second most common gynecologic malignancy in the world due to lack of awareness and poor uptake of cervical cancer screening services especially in low income countries. In Cameroon, though there is a national cervical cancer-screening program the service has been limited to some main cities without an appreciable impact. Aims: The objectives of this study were to determine the knowledge, attitude, practice towards Pap smear screening, thus evaluating its suitability as a screening procedure in Cameroon, through this pilot study in the Buea Health District. Methods: The study was a community-based cross-sectional descriptive survey that involved 309 women. Women from 18 years were enrolled for the study from 9th October to 20th November 2013. Results: The mean age of the participants was 32.3 years (SD = 11.7 years). Most of the women (29.5%) who had gone for the Pap test were in the 41 – 50 years age group. Only 3.6% of the study participants had “good” knowledge of cervical cancer and Pap smear screening. Approximately 20% of the women had a previous Pap smear test with 55.7% of them having the test just once. Eighty two percent of those who had secondary and tertiary levels of education had never had a Pap smear test. Awareness of risk factors for cervical cancer was low. Fear of pain, positive results after screening, non-curability of cervical cancer were some factors associated with a low Pap test uptake (p < 0.05). Conclusion: There is poor knowledge and perceived barriers by women about Pap smear screening and follow-up services. For an impact to be made in the prevention of cervical cancer, Pap smear screening is not the preferred method because of these limitations in this community.

Cite this paper

Ekane, G. , Obinchemti, T. , Nguefack, C. , Nkambfu, D. , Tchounzou, R. , Nsagha, D. , Nkwele, G. and Orock, G. (2015) Pap Smear Screening, the Way Forward for Prevention of Cervical Cancer? A Community Based Study in the Buea Health District, Cameroon. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5, 226-233. doi:10.4236/ojog.2015.54033.

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