Perceived Risk of Cervical Cancer and Barriers to Screening among Secondary School Female Teachers in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.

2 Department of General surgery, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia.

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia.


Background: No previous studies had addressed the perceived risk of cervical cancer (CC) and its influence on screening practices and perceived barriers in Saudi Arabia. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 506 randomly selected Saudi female secondary school teachers in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia to assess their level of knowledge about risk factors and signs of CC in relation to perceived risk and to characterize CC screening compliance using a self-administered questionnaire. Results: Of the included female Saudi teachers, 65.4% and 63.4% were considered less-knowledgeable about CC risk factors and early signs and symptoms respectively. Only 17.2% reported being previously examined for CC. The majority of participants perceived themselves to be at an average or below average risk of CC. Residing in urban areas was the strongest predictor of CC screening (Odds ratio ‘OR’= 3.39; 95% confidence intervals ‘CI= 1.76-6.46; P=0.001). Awareness of risk factors was significantly associated with higher awareness of signs of CC (OR 2.5; 95% CI=, P=0.001). Exploratory factor analysis showed that personal fears (of screening being embarrassing) was the major factor that hindered CC screening with a high loading eigenvalue of 4.392, explaining 30.8% of the barriers toward utilization, followed by health care related factors. Conclusion: Secondary school teachers in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia showed low perceived risk, poor awareness about risk factors, signs and symptoms of CC and limited uptake of screening practices. This underlines the need for education programs on CC targeting this group.


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