Title

Knowledge and awareness about cervical cancer and its prevention amongst interns and nursing staff in Tertiary Care Hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan.

Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Background And Objective: Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality amongst the gynecological cancers worldwide, especially in developing countries. It is imperative for at least health professionals in developing countries like Pakistan to have a sound knowledge about the disease. This study was carried out to assess the knowledge and awareness about cervical cancer and its prevention amongst health professionals in tertiary care hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods And Design: A cross-sectional, interview based survey was conducted in June, 2009. Sample of 400 was divided between the three tertiary care centers. Convenience sampling was applied as no definitive data was available regarding the number of registered interns and nurses at each center. Results: Of all the interviews conducted, 1.8% did not know cervical cancer as a disease. Only 23.3% of the respondents were aware that cervical cancer is the most common cause of gynecological cancers and 26% knew it is second in rank in mortality. Seventy-eight percent were aware that infection is the most common cause of cervical cancer, of these 62% said that virus is the cause and 61% of the respondents knew that the virus is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Majority recognized that it is sexually transmitted but only a minority (41%) knew that it can be detected by PCR. Only 26% of the study population was aware of one or more risk factors. Thirty seven percent recognized Pap smear as a screening test. In total only 37 out of 400 respondents were aware of the HPV vaccine. Conclusion: This study serves to highlight that the majority of working health professionals are not adequately equipped with knowledge concerning cervical cancer. Continuing Medical Education program should be started at the hospital level along with conferences to spread knowledge about this disease.

Publication

Plos One