Views on cervical cancer screening: Trinidad and Tobago and Zimbabwe.
Subject: Cervical cancer (Prevention)
Cervical cancer (Research)
Physicians (General practice) (Research)
Gynecologic examination (Research)
Gynecologists (Research)
Pap test (Research)
Pub Date: 05/01/2007
Publication: Name: Reproductive Health Matters Publisher: Reproductive Health Matters Audience: General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Family and marriage; Health; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2007 Reproductive Health Matters ISSN: 0968-8080
Issue: Date: May, 2007 Source Volume: 15 Source Issue: 29
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Trinidad and Tobago; Zimbabwe Geographic Name: Trinidad and Tobago; Zimbabwe Geographic Code: 5TRIN Trinidad and Tobago; 6ZIMB Zimbabwe
Accession Number: 166186328
Full Text: Caribbean countries have high rates of cervical cancer, and an organised screening and prevention programme is now being set up to replace the current practice of opportunistic screening. The authors of this research article used a cross-sectional survey of 63 general practitioners and gynaecologists and 102 randomly sampled household members (men and women) in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to find out how much they knew about Pap smears and the value of screening programmes. Many women and their partners did not fully understand the purpose of the test; almost hall the women believed that one normal test result meant they were not at risk, and many believed that menopausal women need not be tested. Amongst male partners, misconceptions were even higher than in women, while doctors did not have enough information to explain the reasons for screening to women. The authors conclude that high coverage alone cannot be the sole aim of a screening programme; accurate information is needed by doctors, women and their partners. (1)

A study was done in two rural districts in Zimbabwe of women's perceptions and understanding of cervical cancer and screening through a questionnaire, in-depth interviews with women and health personnel and 20 focus groups with women. Cases of cervical cancer are increasing in Zimbabwe, bur despite widespread concern about the disease more than 95% of women interviewed had not had screening and knew little about the causes, prevention or treatment of cervical disease. In Shurugwi district, no screening programme existed. Even where screening was available the uptake was low due to lack of information about availability, the misconception that lack of symptoms and pain indicated an absence of disease, reluctance to be screened by male nurses, perceived discomfort of having a smear, and the failure to prioritise screening in the light of more pressing "bread and butter" issues. The authors call for a national screening programme, including the use of visual inspection, health education to encourage women's uptake of services, and research to identify the most prevalent HPV types in order to prepare for a future HPV vaccination programme. (2)

(1.) Chingang LC, Bischof U, Andall-Brereton G, et al. 'Have a Pap smear!'--doctors, their clients, and opportunistic cervical cancer screening. International Journal of STD and AIDS 2005;16:233-36.

(2.) Mangoma JF, Chirenje MZ, Chimbari MJ, et al. An assessment of rural women's knowledge, constraints and perceptions of cervical cancer screening: the case of two districts in Zimbabwe. African Journal of Reproductive Health 2006;10(1):91-103.
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