oa South African Journal of Child Health - Cervical cancer screening among adolescent girls in Lesotho : levels and determinants - research

Volume 2018 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1994-3032
  • E-ISSN: 1999-7671



Background. International guidelines have discouraged screening of young women under the age of 21 for cervical cancer. However, a high screening rate is still evident among adolescent girls in Lesotho. 

Objective. To explore the levels and determinants of cancer screening among adolescent girls in Lesotho. 

Methods. This cross-sectional study used secondary data from the 2014 Lesotho Demographic and Health Survey collected from 1 542 adolescent girls aged 15 - 19 years. Descriptive statistics, the chi-square test and a binary logistic regression model were used to analyse the data. 

Results. Despite recommendations that adolescents should not screen for cervical cancer, results show that 15% of adolescent girls in Lesotho attend screening services. Adolescent girls from rural areas are less likely to screen than those from urban areas (odds ratio (OR) 0.22, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.07 - 0.68; p=0.009). Marital status and level of education were significantly associated with cervical cancer screening among respondents; however, age at first sex was not statistically associated with screening among adolescent girls. 

Conclusion. With reference to international guidelines, the screening rate for cervical cancer is high among adolescents in Lesotho. Future studies should focus on why adolescents in Lesotho still screen for cervical cancer despite international recommendations discouraging screening before the age of 21.

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