Background: Despite the established role of the Pap smear test (PST) in prevention and early detection of cervical cancer, it is still rarely practiced in Sudan. Many challenges hinder the establishment of an effective cervical cancer screening program, including socio-cultural factors. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of Sudanese women with regard to the Pap smear test and cervical cancer. Materials and
Methods: A total of 500 married women aged 14 to 58 years were recruited from obstetric clinics, hospitals and universities in Khartoum in 2014. Data were collected using a standardized, pretested questionnaire that inquired socio-demographic characteristics and their KAP about cervical cancer and the PST.
Results: More than 52% of participating women were above 30 years of age, and the majority (78.8%) were university degree holders. A total of 486 (97.2 %) of participants were resident in urban areas of Khartoum State. However about 48% of the respondents had never heard about PST, and only 15.8% of the participants had undergone a Pap smear test previously; 46.6% (233/500) knew that the human papilloma virus (HPV) was the causative agent, but only 39.2% (196/500) had heard about HPV vaccination, and only 11.4% (57/500) had received the vaccine. However 68% of the respondents agreed to do Pap smear if properly informed about the test and 75.4% of the respondents agreed to participate in a cervical cancer screening program.
Conclusions: Despite a high educational level, less than half of our participants had accurate knowledge about cervical cancer, HPV, and cervical cancer screening. Health education about cervical cancer, HPV and sexually transmitted infections and the role of PST in cervical cancer prevention are crucial when designing interventions aimed at improving cervical cancer screening for Sudanese women.