Credits: Campus Bound

Survey Finds Women Are Not Aware of Cervical Cancer Risks

The Public Health & Social Work researchers from Robert Stempel College surveyed undergraduate female students. They found that most of them were unaware of the risk factors of cervical cancer and they had not had a Pap smear.

Pap smear is also known as a Pap test that is a screening test for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of cancerous or precancerous on the cervix.

An associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Nasar U. Ahmed, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Patria Rojas, and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Epidemiology, Abraham Degarege Mengist investigated more than hundred students of FIU. They examined the connection between the students’ adherence to Pap smear guidelines and their knowledge about cervical cancer.

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More than sixty percent of them hadn’t annual checkups within a year and the remaining students had never received a Pap test. The reasons for being not tested and annual checkups were fear and lack of interest.

This study is published in the Journal of the National Medical Association and is available online to study.

The recent findings show that college students would be more likely to seek and acquire cervical cancer screenings because of their higher literacy with regards to health and their insight into risky sexual behaviors.

Cervical cancer begins in the cervix that is an opening of the uterus, a hollow cylinder that connects the lower part of the uterus of women to the vagina. Most cervical cancers start in the cells that are present on the surface of the cervix.

The researchers found that the students who were aware that multiple sexual partners were a risk factor for cervical cancer had higher chances of accepting a Pap test than the individuals who didn’t know that multiple sexual partners were a risk factor of cervical cancer.

Patria Rojas tells that “This study highlights the fact that there is a loss of screening opportunities during regular medical visits to follow CDC guidelines and gynecological care.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at one time, cervical cancer was the main cause of women death in the United States. Those numbers have seen a consistent decrease in the previous forty years because of regular Pap test screenings, which can identify precancerous cells before they transform into a malignant growth.

The American Cancer Society reports that more than eleven thousand women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than thirty-five hundred will die of it in the United States.

Before the invention of the Pap test, cervical cancer was the leading cause of women death in the United States. The invention of the Pap test helped to save incalculable lives and it is currently the twelfth deadliest cancer among women.

An associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, and the principal investigator of the study, Nasar U. Ahmed tells that cervical cancer includes in the most preventable tumors and knowledge is the way into its prevention.

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Screening for this malignant growth is done during an annual checkup that a larger part of these students didn’t get, and the vast majority of the surveyed students didn’t know they could get a Pap test through the Student Health Services of the university.

Nasar U. Ahmed concluded that cervical cancer and several women’s lives can be prevented with knowledge and simple practice of a regular visit of a doctor. 




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