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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 245-251

Knowledge of cervical cancer and the uptake of the Papanicolaou smear test among public secondary school teachers in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria


Department of Community Health, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Augustina Elochukwu Ijezie
Department of Community Health, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, P. M. B 1136, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/nmj.NMJ_120_19

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Background: Cervical cancer is a public health problem that disproportionately affects women in less-developed countries despite the availability of effective screening tools. The objective of this study was to determine the level of knowledge of cervical cancer and uptake of the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear test among teachers in public secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study among 370 female teachers in public secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Data were collected with a self-administered questionnaire and were analyzed using Stata software version 10. Results: The mean age of respondents was 37.9 ± 7.9 years. More than two-thirds (71.0%) of the respondents had low knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors, whereas 168 (57.9%) respondents had low knowledge of the symptoms. Among the 226 (77.9%) respondents who knew that cervical cancer was preventable, only 65 (28.8%) had high knowledge of preventive measures. About 42.2% of respondents were aware of the Pap smear test and only 8.4% had ever had a Pap smear test. There were significant associations between knowledge of symptoms, prevention of cervical cancer, and the uptake of the Pap smear test (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The levels of knowledge of risk factors, symptoms, and methods of prevention of cervical cancer were low in this study. This may have accounted for the low uptake of the Pap smear test. Regular and comprehensive health education concerning cervical cancer and its prevention is advocated in the media and clinics to encourage higher uptake of the Pap smear test.


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