Cytology-Based Screening During Antenatal Care as a Method for Preventing Cervical Cancer

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Public Health Graduate Program, Federal University of Ceará (UFC), Fortaleza, Brazil.

2 Gynecology and Obstetrics Resident, University of São Paulo (USP), São Paulo, Brazil.

3 Department of Family and Community Health, Ministry of Health, Fortaleza, Brazil.

4 Public Health Graduate Program, University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR), Fortaleza, Brazil.

5 Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Federal University of Ceará (UFC), Fortaleza, Brazil.

6 Department of Medical Sciences, Federal University of Ceará (UFC), Fortaleza, Brazil.

Abstract

 
Background: Cervical cancer is one of the most serious threats to women’s lives. Therefore, the present study aimed to know the dynamics in the collection of cytologic samples during antenatal care as a method of cervical cancer screening and to identify the factors associated with its performance. Material and Methods: Analytical cross-sectional study carried out with pregnant and postpartum women in Fortaleza, Ceará, Northeastern Brazil. Data were collected using a questionnaire addressing sociodemographic variables, antenatal care, pregnancy and cytology-based screening for cervical cancer during antenatal care. Measures of central tendency were calculated and the Chi-squared test and Fisher’s exact test were used with a significance level of 5%. Results: Participants were 229 pregnant women and 89 postpartum women. Age ranged 18 to 43 years, with a mean of 27.9 years (SD=6.1). Only 35 (11%) participants had Pap smears during antenatal care. A total of 283 women did not have Pap smears during pregnancy; of these, 229 (80.9%) did not have the test because of lack of clear information from the health professional, 25 (8.8%) for fear of bleeding or abortion, and 29 (10.3%) because they had had the test before pregnancy. Undergoing cytology-based screening for cervical cancer was associated with high-risk pregnancy (p=0.002), antenatal care provided by a physician (p=0.003), knowledge about the possibility of having the test during pregnancy (p<0.001) and paid job (p=0.043). Conclusion: The percentage of cytology-based screening for cervical cancer during antenatal care was low. Therefore, health education is suggested to improve this figure. However, receiving antenatal care at MEAC, having consultations with a physician, and knowing that it is possible to have a Pap smear during pregnancy were significant protective factors for undergoing cytology screening during pregnancy.

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