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The Perceptions about Cancer Screening among Mothers

The Perceptions About Cancer Screening Among Child Bearing Mothers Attending Antenatal Clinic in Nauth


The research was conducted to determine the perceptions about cancer screening among child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic in NAUTH. Three research questions guided the study. Related literature were reviewed and summarized. Descriptive survey research design was used for the study in order to elicit baseline information in the respondents’ natural settings. It is a research with target population of the child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic and they are 371 in number and there was a complete enumeration of such as a sample. A self-developed structured questionnaire consisting of 12 close ended questions was designed and distributed and used for data collection. Validity and reliability of the instrument were ensured. All the 192 copies of questionaire were retrieved and data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency distribution,percentage and tables. Findings from this study showed that 156(82%) agreed that cervical cancer induce ill health 124(79%) childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic agreed that cervical cancer screening induces cancer. 111(71%) childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic agreed the cervical cancer screening induces sexual dysfunction.131(83%) childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic agreed the cervical cancer screening induces infertility.170(88.5%) childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic agreed that poor access to health education about cervical cancer screening affects them. 123(64%) childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic responded that health professional’s negative attitude towards childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic for screening. 103(53%) childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic agreed that invasion of patients’ privacy from cervical cancer screening. Finally, the researcher recommends based on the findings that more cervical cancer screening awareness campaign should be organized, cervical cancer screening test should be carried out on routine bases.



Background of the Study

The incidence of cervical cancer is increasing all over the world with the increase occurring in multiples in developing countries that hitherto had lower incidence. The increase is attributed to ignorance, life style changes and negative attitude of people towards preventive health, poor screening practices, low level of education of the populace and poor access to medical care (Amarin and Badria, 2008). While cancer is a global health issue, the cancer burden is felt more acutely in developing countries, where resources available for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer are limited. This is certainly the case in Nigeria, where this disease is causing untold devastation, and control measures are desperately needed (Amarin and Badria, 2008).

In Nigeria, the National Cancer Control Programme was developed in 2008 with the view of reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with cancer and its socioeconomic impacts. Within this framework the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) established a cervical cancer control plan for screening and early detection of cervical cancer and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination for primary prevention in girls of 9–15 years (Federal Ministry of Health, 2008). The level of implementation of this plan is still debatable in Nigeria. There is dearth of experts and facilities for early detection of cancer in many secondary and even tertiary health institutions in Nigeria (Federal Ministry of Health, 2008).

Cervical cancer is a chronic debilitating disease which continues to cause extreme distress and anxiety for patients, carers and their family, and poses challenging clinical problems to nurses. The problem associated with cervical cancer is not just limited to the women, the family as a whole is affected. The economic implication of being affected with cervical cancer is enormous because it diverts the economic resources meant for family upkeep and children’s education, to managing cervical cancer which is expensive (Ohaeri and Ingwu, 2015).

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population above 170 million in 2014 and with an estimated total population of women between 15-49 years about 40.43 million who are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Currently literature indicated that every year, 9,922 women in Nigeria are diagnosed of cervical cancer and 8,030 die from the disease (Ezeruigbo and Ude, 2012).

Global Cancer (GLOBOCAN) estimates that cervical cancer is the second commonest cancer in Nigerian women with an Age Standardized Incidence Rate (ASR) of 29.0 per 100,000 (GLOBOCAN, 2012). This is similar to rates quoted from Abuja and Ibadan cancer registries of 30.3 per 100,000 and 36.0 per 100,000 respectively.  Incidentally GLOBOCAN data relied on estimates from the population based registries which cover less than 5% of Nigeria’s population (GLOBOCAN, 2012). Institution based reviews across the country suggest that cervical cancer is common. For instance, a large review carried out in Lagos and  Ibadan (South West Nigeria) in 2011 showed that cervical cancer was second only to breast cancer as the commonest cancer in the region (Jedy-Agbaet al., 2012). In University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, the three most occurring cancer among patients in the hospital from January 2008 to December 2012 show that breast cancer account for 54.7%, prostrate 30.5% and cervical cancer 14.8% of 1,502 patients diagnosed of these types of cancer (Dailard, 2013). The above results obviously would not be a true reflection of the people infected with cancer, most especially cervical cancer which is hidden.

Cervical cancer is attributed to several risk factors, among these factors include early marriage or early age of first sexual intercourse (coitarche), multiple male sexual partners, male sexual partners who themselves have had multiple sexual partners (high risk males), early age at first sexual intercourse with uncircumcised male, long term use of oral contraceptive pills (Dailard, 2013). These sexual risk factors favour the sexual transmission of a carcinogen Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is associated with nearly all cervical cancers (Agboola, 2006). The risk of developing cervical cancer is attributed to the presence of carcinogen due to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) type 16 and 33.

Thus cervical cancer is almost unknown in virgins. However, vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer occurrence and other diseases caused by infection of HPVs was approved in the U.S. in June, 2006 (Dailard, 2013). Current vaccination programmes cover types 16 and 18, which are reported to prevent 66.2% of cervical cancers.

In developed countries such as United State of America, death rate from cervical cancer has dropped due to regular cervical screening and treatment that is available and accessible (Jedy-Agbaet al., 2012). Conversely, in developing countries like Nigeria, only few women presented themselves early to the hospitals for screening of cervical cancer when cure could be achieved while majority seek health care when the condition can only be manage in a palliative  manner  (Ogundipe and Obinna, 2012). About 10% of Nigerian women ever had cervical cancer screening in their lifetime accessible (Jedy-Agbaet al., 2012). This goes a long way to highlight the ignorance and information gap on the availability of screening and the preventable nature of cervical cancer. This is not appropriate as for early diagnosis and treatment programmes of any malignancy to be effective, the general public must be aware of the disease and its impact, presentation and potential treatments (Stoppler, 2013).

Statement of the Problem

Perceptions of cervical cancer among child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic are of public health concern because morbidity and mortality of cervical cancer can effectively be reduced through early screening (UrasaandDarj 2011). It is therefore of importance that perceptions about cervical cancer of child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic in NAUTH be studied in an effort to improve women’s uptake of screening aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality from the disease. Despite efforts by government and several NGOs using guidelines for cervical cancer screening, provision of equipment and free Pap smears for women in, NAUTH still has low cervical cancer screening uptake and hence the need to explore perceptions of childbearing mothers attending antenatal clinic at NAUTH.

Purpose of study

The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions about cancer screening among child bearing mothers attendingantenatal clinic in NAUTH.

Objectivesof the Study

The objectives of this study were to:

  • Determineperceptions of child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic in NAUTH about cervical cancer screening.
  • Ascertain the knowledge of child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic in NAUTH about cervical cancer screening.
  • Identify the factors affecting the perceptions of child bearing mothers about cervical cancer screening.

Significance of the Study

This study hopes to contribute to the knowledge of public health practice and public health research towards prevention of cervical cancer. This study also intended to shed light on the reasons for low uptake of cervical cancer screening among child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic at NAUTH and therefore improve screening uptake.

Research questions

  • What are the perceptions of child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic in NAUTH about cervical cancer screening?
  • What are the knowledge of child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic in NAUTH about cervical cancer screening?
  • What are the factors affecting the perception of child bearing mothers about cervical cancer screening?

Scope of the study

This is the area to be covered by this research. The study work was conducted among child bearing mothers attending antenatal clinic in NAUTH,

Anambra state.

Operational definitions of terms

Cervical cancer: This is a disease that develops in the female reproductive system.
Pap smear: is the procedure where cells from the cervix are collected and examined under a microscope to detect pre-cancer and cancer cells with the aim of prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.

Antenatal clinic: is a type of preventive healthcare, with a goal of providing regular check-ups that allows doctors or midwives to treat and prevent potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy.

NAUTH: Nnamdi azikiwe teaching hospital Nnewi.

Child Bearing Mothers:female humans that are within the age range of child bearing.

Perception of Cervical Cancer Screening:the identification and interpretation of cervical cancer screening.

Knowledge of childbearing mothers: is the information and understanding about cervical cancer screening of childbearing mothers.

Factors affecting cervical cancer screening:these are facts and influences that contribute to the perceptions of cervical cancer.

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