Screening and Perceived Severity of Cervical Cancer among Women Attending Mahalapye District Hospital, Botswana


Objectives: The objectives of the study were to describe women’s perceived severity to cervical cancer andits associations with socio-demographic characteristics.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted by aquestionnaire survey with a total of 300 participants selected by convenience sampling techniques.
Results: Theparticipants’ mean age was 37years (SD=11) and the cervical cancer screening rate was 39%. Most of the womenwere sure about the severity of cancer as they responded mostly agreeing or strongly agreeing with statementsabout severity of cervical cancer. The range of average responses was 2.58 to 3.56. When the ever screened andthe never screened for cervical cancer was compared, it was observed that both groups equally believed thatthere is effective treatment for cervical cancer, and that cervical cancer makes a woman’s life difficult. Overall,60% of the never screened had low perceived severity while 33% of the screened had high perceived severity tocervical cancer. There was no significant association between perceived severity and screening for cervical cancer(c2 = 1.0795; p = 0.2988). Monthly income (c2=13.077; p<0001) and residential area (c2=15.457; p=0.004) weresignificantly associated with perceived severity.
Conclusion: The screening rate is still far too low compared tothe national target of greater than 75%. Therefore, despite awareness of the perceived severity of cervical cancer,the reasons why at risk women fail to participate in cervical cancer screening need to be adequately explored.