Document Type: Research Articles
Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Objective: The rising prevalence of cancer of the cervix especially in developing countries gives cause for concern. Fortunately, it can be prevented especially when the women at risk possess correct knowledge, have the right belief and access to screening and prevention services. Previous studies have reported poor knowledge and screening practices among women in developing countries raising the fear of continued spread. The aim of the study was to establish the cervical cancer knowledge, belief and prevention/screening practices among women in Taraba, North-East Nigeria. Methods: The study adopted a cross sectional survey design. A self-designed structured and validated questionnaire with a reliability index of .82 was employed to elicit information from 978 women of child bearing age. Data collected were analysed using percentage, mean, Chi-Square and ANOVA statistics. Result: The findings of the study revealed that the women of Taraba had appropriate knowledge about the nature of cervical cancer (73. 2%) signs and symptoms of cervical cancer (76.5%) risk factors of cervical cancer (88.0%), and prevention of cervical cancer (90.3%). The women did not have the right beliefs about the concept of cervical cancer and its preventive measures. They believed that the screening procedure is painful; they were too young to contract the disease and risk stigmatization if they went for screening. Only 45.2% of the women regularly engaged in screening and other prevention practices. Location of residence, and religion significantly determined knowledge and screening/prevention practices (P<0.05) while marital status and age (P<0.05) significantly affected the respondents’ beliefs about cervical cancer and prevention practices. Location of residence, and religion significantly determined knowledge and screening/prevention practices (P<0.05) while marital status and age (P<0.05) significantly affected the respondents’ beliefs about cervical cancer and prevention practices. Conclusion: It was concluded that knowledge about cervical cancer did not translate to right belief and good practice, and that belief and practice were affected by demographic variables of location of residence, religion, marital status and age.