The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
SZA: Principal investigator of the study designed the questionnaire, undertook the sampling, interpreted the data, drafted the manuscript and performed statistical analysis.MMB: Participated in the design of the study and provided critical revision of the manuscript.ANM: Gave advice for drafting the manuscript and helped critically revise the manuscript. MM: Contributed to the conception and design of the study, the interpretation of the data and critical revision of the manuscript. AK: Critical revision of the manuscript. EMM: Critical revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer and the leading cause of cancer mortality in women in Gabon. The age-standardized incidence of cervical cancer is 19.9 per 100 000 women and the mortality rate is 8.4 per 100 000. Various international studies have identified the lack of awareness and knowledge about cervical cancer as barriers to use preventive methods. This article assesses the awareness and knowledge about cervical cancer, Pap smear testing and its use and HPV among women living in Libreville, Gabon.
This study was conducted in October 2014 in Libreville. A total of 452 women aged 16 years and above were recruited from different town locations. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify the effect of demographic characteristics on the level of knowledge about cervical cancer, Pap smear testing and HPV. Odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals were used to identify the strength of association. Associations were considered statistically significant at p < 0.05.
Of all the women interviewed, 91.6% (414/452) had heard about cervical cancer and only 27.9% (126/452) had heard of Pap smear test. Of these 126 women, only 65.1% (82/126) had done cervical cancer screening and 68.3% (56/82) on the suggestion of a doctor. The most common reason for not undergoing Pap smear testing was neglect (50%, 22/44) followed by lack of financial resources (13.6%, 6/44), fear of discovering a serious disease (13.6%, 6/44) and deeming it unimportant (13.6%, 6/44). Only 8% (40/452) of the participants had heard about HPV and their knowledge of HPV was fair. There is a very poor level of knowledge about cervical cancer among Gabonese women.
This study demonstrates a very low level of knowledge about cervical cancer, Pap smear testing and HPV in a sample of Gabonese women. There is a critical need for Gabonese women to be informed about cervical cancer and the Pap smear test to improve the use of this preventive method. The implication of health staff and Gabonese media should be included as a centerpiece in the effort to inform the population in order to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in Gabon and save women lives.
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- Awareness and knowledge regarding of cervical cancer, Pap smear screening and human papillomavirus infection in Gabonese women
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