Awareness of cervical cancer and practice of Papanicolou smears among adult women availing health services or visiting a rural maternity hospital, Ramnagara District, Karnataka, India

Chandralekha Kona, Merlyn Joseph, Jilshy Varghese, Mary Aksha, Anju Joseph, Ria Jose, Avita Rose Johnson


Background: Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. Almost 87% of cervical cancer deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. The study was conducted to assess the awareness of cervical cancer and practice of Papanicolou (Pap) smears among women availing health services or visiting a rural maternity hospital, Karnataka.

Methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional study was conducted using a 50-item interview schedule. The interview was administered to women >18 years of age who availed services at the hospital and their caretakers.

Results: Mean age of the 158 women interviewed was 32.68±13.7 years. Only 21% of women had heard about cervical cancer. Only 11.4% knew at least one symptom and 1.9% knew one risk factor of cervical cancer. Most of the women (99%) were not aware about prevention of cervical cancer. Only 4% of the women had heard about Pap smears and 3% of the women had undergone a Pap smear test.

Conclusions: Women in our study had very poor awareness of cervical cancer and practice of Pap smears. Gainfully employed women (OR=32; 8.8-111.2) and women who reported cervical cancer among family members or friends (OR=116; 20.2-665.4).  were more likely to have heard about cervical cancer. This study indicates a need to increase the awareness on cervical cancer and its prevention especially regarding Pap smears among rural women in Karnataka.


Awareness, Cervical cancer, Cross-sectional study, Papanicolou smear, Practices

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