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Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Women towards Cervical Cancer and its Screening Tests in a Teaching Hospital, Khartoum-Sudan

Author(s): Ahmed Osman Ahmed Mohamed, Ahmed Ali Eltayeb Elamin, Aram Babikir Hassan Babikir, Duria A Rayis

Background: cervical cancer constitutes the second most common cancer affecting women globally. Most cases occur in developing countries, and the majority are due to Human papillomavirus (HPV). Precancerous lesions can be detected using Papanicolaou (Pap) smear and visual inspection by acetic acid (VIA). Utilization of these tests is limited in developing countries. This study aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of Sudanese women towards cervical cancer and its screening tests.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study design was conducted, where a convenient sample of 310 women was collected from Saad Abu El Ella teaching hospital in the period between 12 to 30 August 2020. Data was collected using an anonymous questionnaire. Analysis of variance and independent-samples T-test compared the statistical differences of knowledge, attitude and practice scores between groups. Spearman rho correlation assessed the relationship between the scores. Linear regression assessed the impact of predictors on the scores.

Results: Around50.0% and 27.7% of the respondents heard about cervical cancer and Pap smear/VIA respectively. The highly-rated symptoms and risk factors: abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods, malodorous vaginal discharge, smoking and sexually transmitted infections. 21.3% rated HPV as a causative agentand9.4% heard about its vaccine. 65.2% desired to perform Pap smear/VIA. 2.3% had ever undergone Pap smear/VIA and also 2.3% have ever received the vaccine against HPV. Awareness of cervical cancer was positively associated with attitude score (P-value 0.004) and practice score (P-value 0.016).

Conclusion: Most of the respondents had poor knowledge and practice towards cervical cancer and its screening tests. Health education and screening campaigns regarding cervical cancer should be established, as well as implementation of vaccination programs against HPV.

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