A Survey of Cervical Cancer and Pap Smear Awareness and Utilization of Pap smear test among female health care providers in a Secondary Care Hospital, Pakistan

  • Shazia Syed Associate Professor Obs/Gyn Dept., Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital; Gujrat; Pakistan.
Keywords: Pap Smear, Cervical Cancer, cervical screening


Objective: To determine the level of awareness of cervical cancer and utilization of Pap smear screening in a cohort of female health workers, where awareness is expected to be high.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted in Sept-Oct 2017, in Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital (DHQ) Gujrat. A weighted sample of 153 female health workers including doctors, nurses, LHV’s and Midwives, were interviewed using a self-administered questionnaire. Knowledge about cervical cancer and Pap smear, along with attitudes and practices towards screening were measured. Data analyzed (SPSS Version 21), percentages and frequencies were calculated.
Results: Knowledge of Cervical cancer and Pap smear test was high 92% and 78% respectively, 95% considered cervical cancer a public health problem. However only 34% practiced routine screening and only 9.8 % (7/71) of the eligible candidates had availed themselves ever for the test. Whereas 73% knew risk factors for cervical cancer, knowledge about eligibility and screening interval was 54% and 39% respectively. Common reasons for not taking Pap smear (66%) were: 07% thought it was for senior doctors, Nurses and midwives thought Pap smear was doctors' procedures and they did not know how to do it (39%), 11% never thought about it, doctors in disciplines other than Obs/Gyn (09%) thought this was an activity only for Obs/Gyn.
Conclusion: Despite the adequate knowledge of cervical cancer and its prevention by Pap smear screening, attitudes and practices towards screening are inadequate. Health care providers should improve on opportunistic screening. Nurse’s training, with formulation and implementation of a National Screening Policy being imperative.

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