Research Article - Journal of Public Health Policy and Planning (2023) Volume 7, Issue 5
Knowledge, risk factors and perceived attitude towards cervical cancer among female tertiary students in the Tano-north municipality of the Ahafo region of Ghana.
Ghana is one of the countries with high incidence rate of cervical cancer in the world. Knowledge of the risk factors and the etiology of cancers, especially, cervical cancer leads to reduction in cancer incidence and prevalence. This study assesses the knowledge, risk factors and perceived preventive methods about cervical cancer of tertiary students in the Tano-north municipality of the newly created Ahafo region of Ghana. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographics, knowledge, risk factors and perceived preventive methods of 150 students who were randomly sampled. An in-depth interview was used to collect the information. Data were entered and analysed using SPSS v20. Proportions were presented for knowledge, risk factor and preventive factor variables. The age range was between 15 to 35 years with the 18-35-year bracket constituting 82.7% of respondents. A total of 59.3% of respondents were not aware that, early sexual intercourse is a risk factor and 78%, 64% and 90.7% of the respondents did not know that smoking cigarette, use of oral contraceptives and stress, respectively are risks of cervical cancer. Respondents also showed poor knowledge on preventive methods with only 32%, 25%, 24%, 57.3% and 34% acknowledged that delay in age of first sexual contact, regular exercise, non-smoking, HPV vaccine and pap smear respectively were preventive methods of cervical cancer. A total of 96.7% of the respondents were aware of cervical cancer disease with 87.6% stating that it is caused by HPV. Also, 66.9% knew pap smear was a screening test for cervical cancer but only 8.3% had ever done pap smear test. In conclusion it was observed that, respondents displayed poor knowledge about the risk factors and preventive methods of cervical cancer. The government should therefore develop and incorporate into the NHIS, a policy on free screening of young tertiary students for cervical cancer since willingness to screen was found to be high.Author(s): Philip Narteh Gorleku, Jacob Setorglo, Sebastian Ken Amoah, Albert Piersson, Wasiya Mutawakilu