269887 Minimization of risk for cervical cancer among women in Kumasi, Ghana

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Michelle S. Williams, MPH, CHES , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Women in Ghana, West Africa have a significantly higher cumulative risk of dying from cervical cancer compared to women in other countries (3.3% vs. 0.9%, respectively). Pap testing and visual inspection with acetic acid wash are screening tools that are available to Ghanaian women. However, cervical cancer screening rates in Ghana are extremely low. Six focus groups were conducted with women (n = 34) between the ages of 18 and 65 in urban and peri-urban sections of Kumasi, Ghana to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about cervical cancer, and to identify psychological barriers to cervical cancer screening.

Indexed coding was used to develop a codebook of common themes that emerged from the focus group data. The most common theme that occurred across all six groups was the lack of perceived personal risk for cervical cancer. Many of the participants, including physicians and nurses, stated that they had never had a cervical cancer screening because they felt they were not at risk for developing the disease because they had no family history of cervical cancer. Stigmatizing beliefs about the causes of cervical cancer, such as having too much sex and poor hygiene, were also common themes.

The results of this study indicate that there is a critical need for increasing Ghanaian women's perceived threat of cervical cancer. Data collected from this novel study could be used to develop culturally appropriate cervical cancer education interventions that are tailored to address common psychological barriers to cervical cancer screening in Ghana.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1) By the end of this session, the participant will be able to identify misconceptions about cervical cancer risk factors held by some Ghanaian women. 2) By the end of this session, the participant will be able to identify key psychological barriers to cervical cancer screening that are common among women in Kumasi, Ghana

Keywords: Barriers to Care, Cervical Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized, designed, and conducted this research project.
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.