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Cervical Cancer Awareness and Preventive Practices: A Challenge for Female Urban Slum Dwellers in Lagos, Nigeria

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Abstract:

Cervical cancer is the commonest gynaecological cancer in Nigeria and women of low socio-economic status are at high risk of this condition. A study was conducted on the awareness of cervical cancer, attitude towards the disease and screening practice of women residing in two urban slums of Lagos, Nigeria. It also determined the prevalence of major risk factors for cervical cancer among the women. Multistage sampling was used to select 240 women who were interviewed with a structured questionnaire and data collected was analyzed with Epi-info version 3.5.1 statistical software. Only 10 (4.2%) women in this study were aware of cervical cancer and none of them believed they were at risk of developing the disease. Most (73.3%) were willing to undergo a cervical cancer screening test. Age, education and previous history of vaginal examination were positively associated with willingness to undergo screening (p < 0.05). The respondents had a high prevalence of major risk factors for cervical cancer such as early age at sexual debut, multiple sexual partners and male partner with other female partners. Efforts need to be intensified to increase awareness of this condition and to promote low-cost cervical cancer screening among this underserved population.

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