Screening for Breast, Cervical and Prostate Cancers in Kazakhstan: Key Factors and Psychological Aspects

Document Type : Research Articles


1 JSC «Central Clinical Hospital», Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan.

2 S.D. Asfendiyarov Kazakh National Medical University, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan.

3 Kazakhstan Medical University “Kazakhstan School of Public Health”, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan.

4 Astana Medical University, Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan.

5 South- Kazakhstan Medical Academy, Shymkent, Republic of Kazakhstan.


Objective: Screening is the main method for early detection and reduction of cancer mortality in all countries, including Central Asia and Kazakhstan. However, there is no official data on the awareness of the population about cancer screening in Kazakhstan. In addition, there were no studies on the psycho-emotional state of the patients during the screening procedure conducted yet. The purpose of the study was to assess the potential factors of awareness and psycho-emotional state during screening for breast (BC), cervical (CC), and prostate cancers (PC) in Kazakhstan (using the example of Almaty city). Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the period from 01/01/2017 to 05/31/2017. The study was carried out at six polyclinics in Almaty (Kazakhstan). 1 625 volunteers took part in the study. The special questionnaires were employed to assess awareness of the screening procedure and subjective feelings during screening. The survey was conducted on patients who were screened for BC (n=674  or 41.5%), CC (n=565  or 34.8%) and PC (n=386 or 23.8%). Demographic data (age, education, marital status, preferred language of communication, etc.) were collected from participants using in-depth interviews. The internal consistency of the questionnaires was analysed by determining the reliability index (Cronbach’s alpha). Results: The mean age of screening participants was 54.6 ± 3.3 years (BC), 49.2 ± 7.3 years (CC), and 56.6 ± 5.1 years (PC) (p = 0.001). Participants in BC and CC screening had a general knowledge of the procedure (45.1 % and 59.8 % of cases, respectively). Men had no information about PC screening (76.4 % of cases, p = 0.001). On the other hand, women had no sufficient knowledge about mammography (46.4 %) and Papanicolaou (Pap)  test (51.2% of cases). In 40.1 % (BC) and 41.1 % (CC) of cases, the fact of having the test was an unpleasant circumstance. However, in 59.6 % (PC) of cases, men did not have any discomfort associated with undertaking the test (p = 0.001). PC screening participants experienced no discomfort in 58.3 % of cases. At the same time, participants in BC and CC screenings experienced discomfort in 38.1 % and 42.5 % of cases, respectively (p = 0.001). Analysis of internal consistency on the questionnaire on awareness of the screening procedure showed the value of Cronbach’s Alpha 0.693. The scores of subjective feelings during screening were 0.702. Conclusions: The study’s results revealed the reliability and applicability of the questionnaires on awareness of the screening procedure and assessment of subjective feelings. Knowledge of general information about the screening program differed depending on the type of screening. Participants in BC and CC screening were more likely to be aware of the screening program than participants in PC screening. An unpleasant circumstance associated with screening test is most often considered the very fact of having the test, especially for participants in BC and CC screening. The results of this study highlight the importance of providing an information campaign to raise awareness about screening tests. In addition, the results indicate the need to provide patients with full information about the screening process, and possible risks and benefits.


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