Nigerians and Kenyans know breast and cervical cancers exist, yet few get tested
Researchers report that many women in Nigeria and Kenya were aware of breast and cervical cancer, yet they didn’t get tested for it or vaccinated against it. This means that governments should find better ways to encourage screening and prevention.
Many women in African countries suffer with and die from breast and cervical cancer. However, doctors can manage these diseases better if it is detected early during screening and testing.
Authorities should know how aware women are that screening and vaccination services are available so that they can improve women’s health.
In this study, researchers assessed the level of knowledge about breast and cervical cancer in Nigeria and Kenya. They also wanted to know if women visited hospitals to test for cancer, or if they were able to check their breast for any signs of cancer.
They asked women aged 18-59 questions about cervical and breast cancer testing, whether they were vaccinated against cervical cancer, and if they could check themselves for signs of breast cancer.
The researchers also asked the participants how they learnt about cancer, and their reasons for not testing for cancer.
They found that one-third of participants had adequate knowledge of testing for both breast and cervical cancer, as well as checking themselves for signs of breast cancer.
Women aged 26 – 40, with tertiary education and who were married, had better knowledge. Also, women in Kenya had better knowledge than those in Nigeria.
The researchers also reported that very few women tested for breast and cervical cancer or were vaccinated against cervical cancer. The women said it was because they did not know where to go for testing, or because they did not show any symptoms.
Many women said that they were willing to go for testing. The researchers also reported that women who knew about breast cancer were more likely to check themselves for any signs of the cancer.
This was the first time a study was done in more than one African country to link women’s knowledge with their willingness to do cancer testing.
The researchers said most participants of the study had tertiary education, and this might have affected their results. They also said they used the internet to share their survey due to COVID-19, so participants would have had to have internet access.
Background: The burden of breast and cervical cancer is increasing exponentially, especially among women in low-and mid-income countries due to late diagnosis, unhealthy lifestyle choices and adoption of western lifestyles.Early detection,hinged on screening uptake is a key to higher survival rate and managing cancer outcome.Despite some improvement noticed in developed countries, the control of these preventable diseases in African countries including Nigeria and Egypt seems insurmountable.Therefore, this study focused on assessing the knowledge and uptake of Nigerians and Egyptians towards breast self-examination (BSE) and breast and cervical cancer screening.Results: A community-based cross-sectional questionnaire was utilized in both countries to obtain 1,006 respondentsvia a convenient sampling method. The mean age of study participants was 30.43 ± 6.69. About one-third of participants had a good knowledge (> 66 %) of breast cancer screening(423, 42 %), cervical cancer screening(446, 44 %)and BSE practice(363, 36 %).Age range (26 –40 years), educational level (tertiary)and marital status were demographic data that influenced knowledge level.Though with a fairly satisfactory knowledge level, the screening uptake among studied population is very poor as only (111, 11 %) had ever been screened and only (22, 2.2 %) ever vaccinated.The major reasons for poor screening uptake were“no awareness of where to be screened” and “no symptoms”.Conclusions: Assessing the knowledge and uptake level of African women through studies like this is crucial in identifying the loopholes in the fight against cancer in Africa.More efforts are required in promoting utilization of cancer screening services, HPV vaccination and BSEpracticeamong African women.The media and internet should be leveraged on as they are the major sources of information about cancer among the respondents.
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