Knowledge and Attitude of Female Students of Tertiary Institutions in Imo State towards Cervical Cancer and its Screening

Abstract

Cervical Cancer which is the second most common cancer in women is largely preventable when detected early. Premalignant form is the earliest stage of cervical cancer can be detected early through effective cervical cancer screening. This work was carried out to ascertain the knowledge and attitude of female students in four tertiary institutions in Imo State towards Cervical Cancer and its Screening. Self-administered closed end structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The questionnaires were properly validated. Three hundred and ninety-eight female students in tertiary institutions who were of reproductive age between 16 – 45 years were used as respondents. All completed and returned their questionnaires. These were analysed using simple statistical methods. Result analysis showed that 350 (87.9%) have heard of cervical cancer while 265 (66.6%) have heard of cervical screening. One hundred and eighty-six (47%) were sexually active while 17(4.3%) have done the screening. Three hundred and seventy-two (93.5%) agreed that having multiple sexual partners was a risk factor. Three hundred and eighty-three (96.2%) of the population know that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the causative agent. The most prevalent reasons for not undertaking the screening were embarrassment 374 (94%) and fear 320 (80.4%). The study has revealed high knowledge of cervical cancer amongst the students but poor attitude towards its screening. Women of reproductive age including students in the tertiary institutions should be enlightened on the need of the routine screening for cervical cancer especially once they become sexually active. This is expected to increase rate of early detection and treatment thereby preventing the heavy economic cost of treating and managing full-blown cervical cancer.

Keywords: Imo State, Knowledge, attitude, cervical cancer, human papilloma virus

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 13-24 (Download PDF)

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