Awareness Regarding Cervical Cancer and Preventive Practices Among Rural Married Women of Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu
Keywords:Awareness; cervical cancer; cervical cancer screening; human papilloma virus vaccine; Pap smear
Introduction: Cervical cancer is the commonest malignancy among Indian women causing high mortality and considerable socioeconomic burden. In developing countries like India primary and secondary prevention in the form of risk reduction and screening for precancerous lesions respectively offers the best hope for control of the disease. The success of preventive strategies depends on awareness and utilization of the services by the women. Objectives: To assess the awareness regarding cervical cancer and preventive practices related to cervical cancer among rural women in a selected area of Tamil Nadu. Materials and methods: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted among 100 women attending a rural health centre, in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu between May and July 2012, using a semi-structured schedule. Results:Among the 100 participants, 74% were aware of the term cervical cancer. This awareness was positively associated with higher levels of education, socioeconomic status and occupational status (p< 0.05). Awareness about symptoms (29.7%), risk factors (1.35%), Pap smear (14.9%), other screening methods (13.5%) and treatment (4%) was low. None of the participants were aware of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine and none had undergone screening or immunisation with HPV. Conclusion: The awareness about cervical cancer and utilization of screening services was very low among the participants. This emphasises the need for integrating extensive awareness building measures in cancer control programmes. A multi-pronged approach is essential to cover women belonging to various socioeconomic subgroups. Key words: Awareness; cervical cancer; cervical cancer screening; human papilloma virus vaccine; Pap smear.
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