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Short Communication

Cervical cancer screening in rural mountainous Honduras: knowledge, attitudes and barriers

Submitted: 26 November 2015
Revised: 29 December 2016
Accepted: 1 March 2017
Published: 25 May 2017

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Author(s) : Pryor RJ, Masroor N, Stevens M, Sanogo K, Hernández O'Hagan P, Bearman G.

Rachel PryorMichael StevensKakotan SanogoPedro José Hernández O'HaganGonzalo Bearman

Citation: Pryor RJ, Masroor N, Stevens M, Sanogo K, Hernández O'Hagan P, Bearman G.  Cervical cancer screening in rural mountainous Honduras: knowledge, attitudes and barriers. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2017; 17: 3820. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=3820 (Accessed 20 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction:  Because cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Honduras, this study assessed knowledge, attitudes and barriers to cervical cancer screening services by Papanicolaou smear (pap smear) for women in rural, remote Honduras served by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Global Health and Health Disparities Program (GH2DP).
Methods:  Two interviewers administered an institutional review board approved, 20 question survey by convenience sample methodology to adult female patients visiting GH2DP clinics in June 2014. A total of 146 surveys were completed. Of the respondents, 30 were living in La Hicaca, the largest and wealthiest village in the region, and 116 were living in surrounding, less affluent, villages.
Results:  On average, women from La Hicaca had 2.9 children whereas women from surrounding villages had 4.3 children (p=0.0095). There were no significant differences between La Hicaca and surrounding villages in average respondent age, age of first intercourse and number of sexual partners. Seventy three percent (22/30) of women from La Hicaca and 60% (70/116) from surrounding villages reported undergoing cervical cancer screening by pap smear (p=0.1890). Eighty-two percent (18/22) of the respondents from La Hicaca and 84% (59/70) from surrounding villages were screened in the past two years (p=0.7846). The majority of the women from surrounding villages (81%, 57/70) and 23% (5/22) from La Hicaca traveled >1 h to receive a pap smear (p≤0.0001). Women from La Hicaca (86%, 19/22) were more likely to receive their pap smear results than women from surrounding villages (60%, 42/70) (p=0.0225). Although 17% (5/30) of respondents from La Hicaca and 11% (13/116) (p=0.4175) from surrounding villages were aware of the cause of cervical cancer, 60% (18/30) of women in La Hicaca and 82% (95/116) in surrounding villages (p=0.0106) believed it is preventable. Of the 106 women (73%) who had heard of cervical cancer screening, only 92 women (63%) had been screened (p<0.0001). Women undergoing cervical cancer screening were more likely to believe that cervical cancer is preventable (n=78, p=0.0054). The most common screening barriers were lack of awareness and fear (19/54, 35%; 15/54, 28%).
Conclusions:  Although yearly screening services are available in this community, knowledge and access barriers exist for increased implementation. Notification of pap smear results is suboptimal. These findings will guide regional and collaborative effort to improve cervical cancer screening services.

Key words: access, attitudes, barriers, cervical cancer, Honduras, knowledge, risk factors.

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