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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41-46

Perception of cervical cancer and its cytological screening among medical students

1 Department of Histopathology, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria
2 Department of Morbid Anatomy and Forensic Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
3 Department of Human Anatomy, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Said Mohammed Amin
Department of Histopathology, National Hospital, Abuja
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DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_26_18

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Introduction: In Nigeria, cancer of the cervix is known to be the second commonest malignancy among females. In developed countries, there has been a paradigm shift attributed to effective cervical cancer screening predominantly using the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear. This screening tool is highly sensitive and specific; having a commendable positive predictive value as well as relatively cheap and effective means of screening cervical cancer for early detection. Objectives: The aim of this study is to assess the perception of Pap smear among medical students in College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (CHS-UDUS) in order to be able to recommend ways for improving acceptability, usage, and dissemination of information of the screening tool (Pap smear). Materials and Methods: The study utilized a cross-sectional study design. Preclinical students of CHS-UDUS were selected using random sampling technique. Pretested semi-structured, self-administered questionnaires were administered on the students. Quantitative variables were analyzed and presented using measures of central tendency [mean and median] and measures of dispersion (standard deviation), while Chi-square test was used in bivariate analyses, to determine the statistical association between the categorical groups, with a P < 0.05 considered as statistically significant. Results: Preclinical medical students in UDUS were found to have high awareness of cervical cancer-screening (82%) which made them positively disposed toward the screening tool. Most of them (75.6%) believe that Pap smear is effective in detecting cervical cancer. Majority of respondents obtained their information from routine lectures (81%) as against mass media (7%) and other extraneous source. However 42.8% were unaware of Pap smear screening services availability in their institution. Conclusion: The level of awareness about cervical cancer screening is high among the study population. Future studies should concentrate on utilization of this service in later life of young students.

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