Assessing the Knowledge, Attitude and Practices Towards Cervical Cancer Screening Among a Sample of Iraqi Female Population.


Cervical cancer is one of the most common malignancies and the leading cause of cancer related deaths among the female population in developing countries. To assess the level of knowledge, attitude and practices related to cervical cancer risk factors and prevention among Iraqi women. The cross-sectional study included a total of 343 educated female participants who were divided into two groups. Group I comprised 203 employees from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research while Group II included 140 students from Baghdad Nursing College and the Technical Institute. Participants were asked to complete pre-coded standardized questionnaire prepared by the researchers to elicit information regarding their socio-demographic characteristics and their knowledge, attitudes and practices towards cervical cancer risk factors and its prevention. Overall the answers of the respondents were sub optimal; scored in average as "Poor" among the Employees and "Good" among the Students (32.5% and 68.6% respectively). The difference in scores between the two groups was statistically significant (p < 0.5). Only 38.4% of the employed respondents have heard about Pap smear test versus 85% of the students; the main source of information in the latter was the university curriculum, while among the employed sector the media and TV played the major role. It was displayed that 17% of the married respondents in the study were subjected to Pap smear test before; two thirds of those were examined during the past two years. Favorable positive attitudes towards screening were demonstrated in only 30.3% and 40% among the employed and students groups respectively. The main barrier to screening was fear among the employed group (44.4%), while the lack of sufficient time (60%) was a more important factor behind neglecting screening among the students. In general, only 8.5% of the married respondents believed in the significance of adhering to a routine screening test. The presented findings documented deficit knowledge, attitude and practices related to cervical cancer and Pap smear among the educated Iraqi female population. Efforts should be directed towards establishing national community-based cervical cancer control programs which comprise educational components that focus on elevating the level of awareness among Iraqi women on the risk factors of cervical cancer and the means for its prevention.