Assessment of the Albanian University female students' knowledge, attitudes, and practices on cervical cancer
Keywords:Cervical cancer, knowledge, attitude, practice, female students, HPV, HPV vaccine
Introduction: Cervical cancer is highly preventable and if diagnosed and treated early, highly curable. Yet it remains the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. In Albania, cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer among women 15 - 44 years. A national cervical cancer screening program has been established, which offers HPV tests as part of routine examinations in primary health care centres.
Aim: To assess knowledge, attitude, and practices (KAP) as well as associated factors regarding cervical cancer, among Albanian University female students, and provide useful information for the development of evidence-based preventive strategies for the future.
Methodology: A cross-sectional KAP study was conducted among Albanian University female students during March to May 2022. A total of 503 female students participated in the study (response rate of 82%). A Google questionnaire based on WHO guidance and similar KAP surveys was used to collect the study data. Descriptive analysis was used to analyze the knowledge, attitude, and practices of Albanian female students regarding cervical cancer.
Results: Overall, most students in the study (71.2%) had little knowledge about cervical cancer. Only a fifth of them (20.7%) knew about HPV as a risk factor for the disease with a smaller proportion (18.9%) recognized HPV vaccine as a preventive method. In terms of risky behaviors: 45.9% of respondents showed a positive attitude towards condom use; with 17.7% of students reporting several sexual partners. Only 6.8% of respondents had ever done an HPV test and a total of 7.5% were HPV vaccinated.
Conclusions: The study showed that respondents had a low level of knowledge and unfavorable attitudes about cervical cancer including risk factors, screening, and preventive procedures. The findings could serve as baseline information for further research in this area and highlight the need for more effective information-education-communication strategies to stimulate and support a shift towards positive behaviors of this target group.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Lumturi Merrkuri, Fatjona Kamberi, Erda Qorri, Leidon Shapo
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