Knowledge and Views of Secondary School Students in Kuala Lumpur on Cervical Cancer and its Prevention


Cervical cancer is one of the most frequent cancers in women worldwide. Persistent infection with a humanpapillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause for cervical cancer. Vaccination and Pap smear screening are the bestmethods for prevention of the disease. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to assess the knowledgeand views of upper secondary school female students in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, toward prevention of cervicalcancer. This study was conducted from April 2009 to September 2009 in 8 schools in Kuala Lumpur area usingpre-tested and validated questionnaires. Results indicated that the respondents had low knowledge of cervicalcancer and its prevention although the majority of students (80.4%) had heard about the disease. The level ofknowledge of cervical cancr and its prevention was significantly higher among students from the science stream(p<0.001) compared to students from the art stream. Most students (69.3%) agreed to take the vaccination if theservice was available in schools. A high percentage of students (82.2%) agreed that the vaccination should becompulsory to the students. In conclusion, most students had low knowledge of cervical cancer and its preventionbut they had positive attitude toward vaccination and agreed that vaccination should be compulsory. Therefore,suitable educational programmes should be developed to improve the knowledge of secondary school studentson the prevention of cervical cancer.