182807 Socio-Cultural factors and knowledge associated with cervical cancer and screening among Colombian women

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Isabel C. Garces, MPH , Division of Preventive Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Maria Silvia Bohorquez, MS , Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia
Isabel C. Scarinci, PhD, MPH , Division of Preventive Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
BACKGROUND: In Colombia, cervical cancer (CC) is the most common cancer among women with age-standardized incidence (36.4/100,000) and mortality rates (18/100,000) much higher than for the U.S. (7.7 and 2.3 respectively).

PURPOSE: To examine knowledge and socio-cultural factors associated with CC and screening among low/medium income women through 10 focus groups.

RESULTS: The sample consisted of 81 women 18 to 65 years of age (x=41.5). In average, participants had 9.3 years of education, 88.9% had health insurance, 99% had heard about Pap smears, 59% had heard about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), and 10% had never had a Pap smear. Early onset of sexual activity, promiscuity, lack of condom use, abortion, genetics, HPV, and lack of hygiene were identified as the most important risk factors for CC. Participants recognized that not all women with cancer have symptoms, and that Pap smears are important to prevent or detect cancer early; however, they mentioned discomfort or pain, fear of finding cancer, embarrassment, and poor services from health care providers as the main barriers to get regular screening. Women recommended educational campaigns and better customer service at clinics to motivate women to get screened.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, Colombian women have basic knowledge about CC and screening. Indirectly, factors associated with the transmission of HPV, such as promiscuity, were mentioned as risk factors for CC. As noted by participants, training of health care providers not only on performing Pap smears, but also on client service, may help to overcome the main barriers for screening.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe cervical cancer knowledge among Colombian women 2.Identify the main barriers to cervical cancer screening among Colombian women

Keywords: Cervical Cancer, International

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Conducted research, and wrote abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.