Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Women in the Southern Region of Saudi Arabia Regarding Cervical Cancer and the Pap Smear Test

Document Type: Research Articles

Author

Dean of the Female Nursing Institute, Armed Forces Hospital Southern Region of Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

Background: The main barrier for women to receive Papanicolaou (Pap) smear tests and immunization is lack of
knowledge about the disease’s signs and symptoms, women’s attitudes toward prevention programs and cultural myths
and beliefs. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to measure women’s knowledge, attitudes and practices about
cervical cancer and the Pap smear test in the southern region of Saudi Arabia and to assess the findings in relation with
women’s demographics. Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted at the Armed Forces Hospital Southern
Region Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic using a self-administered questionnaire with a sample size of 255 women
between the ages of 15 and 65 years. Results: Forty-three percent of the women in this region are aware of cervical
cancer, but do not recognize its risk factors, implications, timing or main cause, which is Human papillomavirus (HPV).
In fact, the primary source of information was obtained through social media. Only two women conducted Pap smear
test and that was based on doctor’s referral, where women’s main reason from not conducting the test was feeling good
and no need. Conclusions: There is a need, therefore, to create awareness programs for cervical cancer, its causes and
risk factors, as well as its preventive measures for women in the southern region of Saudi Arabia.

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