Cervical cancer awareness and screening in Botswana.

OBJECTIVE

Cervical cancer remains a leading cause of death in many developing countries because limited screening by Papanicolaou (Pap) smear. We sought to better understand women's beliefs about cervical cancer and screening in Botswana, a middle-income African country with high rates of cervical cancer.

METHODS

We interviewed 289 women attending general medicine or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinics, where Pap testing was available, in Gaborone, Botswana, in January 2009.

RESULTS

About three fourths (72%) of the respondents reported having ever had a Pap smear; HIV-positive women were more likely to have had a Pap smear than HIV-negative women (80% vs 64%; odds ratio, 1.97; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-3.55). Screening was also more common among women who were older, had higher incomes, or had heard of cervical cancer. Almost all participants reported a desire to have a Pap smear. Reasons included to determine cervical health (56%), to improve overall health (33%), and to obtain early treatment (34%). About half (54%) of the respondents said they did not know what causes cervical cancer, and almost none attributed the disease to human papillomavirus infection.

CONCLUSIONS

Study findings can inform interventions that seek to increase cervical cancer awareness and uptake of screening as it becomes more widely available.

Investigators
Abbreviation
Int. J. Gynecol. Cancer
Publication Date
2012-05
Volume
22
Issue
4
Page Numbers
638-44
Pubmed ID
22367370
Medium
Print
Full Title
Cervical cancer awareness and screening in Botswana.
Authors
Mingo AM, Panozzo CA, DiAngi YT, Smith JS, Steenhoff AP, Ramogola-Masire D, Brewer NT