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      Awareness of cervical cancer, Papanicolau's smear and its utilization among female, final year undergraduates in Durban, South Africa.

      Journal of cancer research and therapeutics
      Adolescent, Adult, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Mass Screening, Papanicolaou Test, Questionnaires, Risk Factors, Sexual Behavior, South Africa, Students, Universities, Uterine Cervical Neoplasms, diagnosis, epidemiology, prevention & control, Vaginal Smears, Young Adult

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          Cervical cancer is a preventable disease; it is the primary cancer amongst women in South Africa. The objective of this study is to assess the awareness and detection methods of cervical cancer. This was a cross-sectional study conducted among 180 full time final year undergraduate female university students. A multistage sampling technique was used to select the sample and self administered questionnaire was used to collect the information. Chi-square test and logistic regression were used to find association and the significant predictor for doing Pap smear test. Over half (53.3%) of the participants had heard about cervical cancer and its detection method. More than half (60%) and over a third (37.8%) of the participants knew about human papilloma virus (HPV) and multiple sexual partner respectively as risk factors for cervical cancer. More than half (55.3%) indicated that they were not aware if cervical cancer can be prevented. Majority (76.7%) knew that Papanicolau's (Pap) smear test is used for detection or prevention of cervical cancer. Among those who were sexually active and knew about Pap smear test 79.3% did not do the test mainly because of personal factors such as fear of the procedure, or were not ill. Level of awareness regarding cervical cancer and its detection method was low among these female students. The university management should focus on developing policies on health education and promotion to prevent transmission of the HPV.

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