Community Education on Cervical Cancer Amongst Market Women in an Urban Area of Lagos, Nigeria


Background: Cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of carcinoma among women worldwide,accounting for about 12% of all cancers. Tragically, studies have shown generally low awareness levels on itssymptoms, risk factors and prevention. This study evaluated the effect of a health education program onknowledge of cervical cancer amongst women at risk in Africa.
Method: This study was conducted in the city ofLagos, Nigeria, using a multistage sampling technique. Two model markets were chosen by simple randomsampling method from a total of 10 local governments with model markets. One was designated the intervention/experimental group while the other was the control. Systematic sampling method was used in selecting 350women comprising of 175 participants from each model market. A baseline survey on cervical cancer awarenessand screening practices was carried out in both sample groups with the aid of interviewer-administered, structuredand pre-tested questionnaires. Thereafter, respondents in the intervention group received sessions of communitybasededucational messages on cervical cancer and its prevention. Subsequently, participants in both groupswere reassessed to evaluate the effect of the educational program. Data analysis was conducted with Epi-infostatistical software.
Results: Knowledge level was low on cervical cancer at baseline; only about 15% and 6.9%of participants in the intervention and control groups respectively had heard of cervical cancer. The most commonsources of information were friends and media prior to the intervention. Significant increase in proportionswere found in the intervention/experimental group on awareness of cervical cancer (61.7%), associated symptomsand risk factors such as early sexual debut, promiscuity and smoking.
Conclusion: It is apparent that effortsmust be put in place by all stakeholders in reaching women at risk of cervical cancer through well organizededucational campaigns using culturally sensitive information, education and communication.