Saudi Women’s Knowledge and Attitude toward Cervical Cancer Screening, Treatment, and Prevention: A Cross-Sectional Study in Qassim Region (2018-2019)

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

College of Pharmacy, Qassim University, Unaizah, Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

Background: Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease if early diagnosed; however, most of the cases
present late; hence, there is a need to raise the awareness about cervical cancer and to establish screening programs.
We aimed to assess the knowledge and attitudes toward screening and to determine the current status of awareness
among women. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study among 2,220 Saudi women in the Qassim region
using a validated questionnaire that gathers data on socio-demographics, knowledge and attitude domains. Results:
Among the participants, 952 (42.9%) were between 31 and 45 years old; most were married and highly educated
1,754 (79%), and showed moderate knowledge about cervical cancer symptoms, prevention, and screening. The most
reported symptom was non-cyclic bleeding by 511 (23%), while prolonged use of contraceptives 289 (13%) was the
more selected risk factor by participants. We found that 1,881 (84.7%) of women had not undergone a Pap smear test,
and 805 participants (42.8%) expressed their refusal to attend for it, citing various reasons; the most reported was that
they do not know someone who tried pap smear. A significant negative correlation was found between the level of
knowledge and acceptance to vaccinate daughters at school age against human papillomavirus. Conclusion: Saudi
women in the Qassim region have moderate awareness of cervical cancer but negative attitudes toward screening.
Awareness campaigns are needed to promote knowledge and improve pap smear attendance to eliminate negative
perceptions and beliefs.

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