Cervical cancer is the second most frequent gynaecological malignancy in Cameroon, and it is the major cause of cancer mortality among women. Gender and educational level have a big impact on cervical cancer screening knowledge and attitudes. The goal of this study was to find out how well male and female university students knew about cervical cancer and how they felt about Pap smear screening. This was a 416-student cross-sectional research conducted from February to May 2017 among students at the University of Buea in Cameroon. A pretested questionnaire was used to collect data, and Epi-Info version 7 was used to analyse it. Pvalue 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance. The participants’ average age was 22.08 (4.03) years. Cervical cancer was mentioned by up to 82.2 percent of the participants. Only 25.2 percent of the participants said they knew “a lot” about cervical cancer. There was no statistically significant difference in general knowledge across genders (P=0.81), however there was a statistically significant link between having “good” knowledge and being a health science student (P0.001). More than half of the students were unaware that having several sexual partners was a risk factor for cervical cancer, and more than half were unaware that early sexual intercourse, smoking, family history, and multiple deliveries were all risk factors. A Pap smear was performed on only 4.8 percent of female pupils. The low uptake was linked to a number of factors, including the cost of screening, a lack of knowledge about screening programmes, fear, and the idea that pap smear screening is uncomfortable. To summarise, university students’ understanding of cervical cancer was low regardless of gender. The use of Pap smear screening was extremely low, indicating a need for increased health education and preventative initiatives aimed at both men and women.

Author(s) Details

Gregory Edie Halle-Ekane
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon.

Dr Derick Nembulefack
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Limbe District Hospital, Limbe, Cameroon.

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