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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 64-69

A study of knowledge, attitude, and practice of Pap smear test in the early detection of cervical cancer among qualified working women in an urban area

Department of Pathology, Fr. Muller Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. T Umashankar
Fr Muller Medical College, Kankanady, Mangalore - 575 003, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjmsr.mjmsr_34_21

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Introduction: Cervical cancer (CC) is being one among the leading causes for cancer-related deaths worldwide contribute to a massive portion of mortality which can be reduced to a great extent with the help of a screening test – Pap smear test; with which early detection and thus prevention of this cancer is made possible. Despite the fact that Pap smear test has proved itself to be an easily available and cost-effective method to screen the early signs of CC among prone women, a large group of women is hesitant to get it done due to various reasons. Hence, this was conducted to study the degree of knowledge, attitude, and practice of Pap smear test among qualified working women in urban areas. Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 334 working-class women who had an undergraduate/postgraduate qualification and were engaged in different types of occupation were selected. These participants were requested to answer a questionnaire which extracted information about the individual's demographic data; knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding CC, Pap smear test, and Human papillomavirus vaccination. Data so collected were analyzed using the SPSS version 23 software. Results: The participants belonged to the age group of 22–59 years with mean age being 33.4 years. The study population was broadly categorized into two groups as teaching occupation (n = 221; 66.2%) and nonteaching occupation (n = 113; 33.8%). Overall, 45% of the participants knew that CC is the cancer of the lower part of uterus. Forty-five percentage did not know the benefits of Pap smear test. Knowledge sourced from family, friends, and health care professionals was 30% and 6%, respectively. Medical camps contributed to 17% of the knowledge in the overall study group. Forty-nine percentage of the participants did not know Pap smear test has to be done regularly. Overall, only 26 participants (8%) underwent Pap smear test. Most of them were in the age range of 31–40 years and the least were in the age range of 21–30 years. Knowledge and attitude toward Pap smear test are the major indicators and predictors of the utilization and performance of this test. The practice of doing Pap smear test and thus the performance of this test was higher among those who had higher knowledge (Group II P < 0.005) and better attitude toward Pap smear test. Studies reveal that pain, lack of knowledge, insufficient medical recommendations, and health education, time constraints, embarrassment, and fear of bad results are the main barriers in getting Pap smear test done. This brings to light the need to revamp our strategy in health education.

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