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Cervical cancer: Knowledge of Risk Factors and Practice of Preventive Measures among Female Primary School Teachers in Urban Anambra State, Nigeria

Prosper Obunikem Adogu, Ifeoma Anne Njelita, Uzoamaka Carol Chimah, Christian Ibeh, Echendu Adinma, Amobi Ilika.

Aim / Background: Cervical cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women worldwide. This study was aimed at establishing baseline knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors and practice of its preventive measures among female primary school teachers in urban Anambra State, Nigeria.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study in which data on knowledge and practice variables were collected from 250 female school teachers aged 18 to 65 years, using self-administered questionnaires. Same was analysed and data presented in frequency tables.
Result: Only 15(6.4%) of the respondents felt they were at risk of cervical cancer even as 149(59.6%) had no idea of any symptom of cervical cancer; and none knew early stages of the disease could present with no symptoms. Moreover, 137(58.3%) knew no risk factor for cervical cancer while a smaller proportion knew HPV infection 20(8.5%) and cigarette smoking 23(9.8%) as risk factors. Only 1(0.4%) respondent had ever had a cervical screening as over 75% of respondents reported not knowing about the screening test as their main reason for not doing the test. About 23% of respondents would recommend cervical screening to another woman.
Conclusion: This study has shown very poor knowledge of cervical cancer and its risk factors; and even a poorer practice of cervical cancer screening among the respondents. Female teachers must be well informed about this disease in order for them to give the right information to their students. Therefore, in both formal and informal settings, regular and sustained health education on cervical cancer should be directed at this group.

Key words: Cervical cancer, Knowledge, Risk factors, Practice, Preventive measures

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