oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Perceived susceptibility of cervical cancer screening among women attending Mahalapye District Hospital, Botswana : original research



Cervical cancer is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Botswana. Papanicolaou (Pap) cervical cytology screening has helped to reduce cervical cancer rates dramatically through early detection of premalignant lesions in countries with screening programmes that have been well implemented. The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to describe the women's perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer and the association between socio-demographic characteristics. A total of 300 participants were selected by convenience sampling techniques. Participants' mean age was 37 years (SD=11). Results indicated that cervical cancer screening rates were 39%. Most of those that had ever been screened for cervical cancer (64%), had been screened in the previous three years. Most of the participants (75%) were aware of their perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer. There was a significant association between perceived susceptibility and screening for cervical cancer (X2=20.86; p<0.001). Among those with low perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer, 31% had screened for cervical cancer as compared to 59% screening rates among those with high perceived susceptibility to cervical cancer. Those with high perceived susceptibility were 3.2 times more likely to screen for cervical cancer (OR=3.24; 95% CI:1.937-5.43) than those with low perceived susceptibility. High susceptibility rates significantly associated with being married (X2=9.44; p=0.051), employed (X2 = 13.077; p < 0.001), monthly income more than $411 (X2 = 15.457; p < 0.004) and peri-urban residential status (X2 = 14.280; p = 0.001). Perceived susceptibility was significantly associated with cervical cancer screening. Education programmes geared towards increasing perceived susceptibility can significantly improve uptake of cervical cancer screening in Botswana as well as address issues of barriers and misconceptions.


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