Cervical cancer screening and prevention: how aware is the Indian woman?

Trapti M. Saxena, Aditi J. Upadhye, Jayshree J. Upadhye


Background: Carcinoma of the cervix is the second most common cancer in women worldwide. It is the commonest cancer among Indian women. Awareness regarding cervical cancer and its prevention is quite low amongst Indian women. The Pap test is a simple and cost-effective technique for early diagnosis of cervical cancer.

Methods: It was a cross sectional study conducted in the months of September and October 2018. We included 200 women between 30 and 60 years of age.

Results: In present study, out of 200 respondents, 160 (80%) respondents got married after 21 years of age while 40 (20%) respondents got married below 21 years of age. 148 (74%) respondents had 2 children, 30 (15%) respondents had one child while 22 (11%) respondents had 3 children. 166 (83%) had heard about cervical cancer, 24 (12%) knew that cervical cancer can be cured if detected in early stage while only 10 (5%) knew that it can be prevented. 54 (27%) respondents knew that pap smear test should be done as screening test to detect cervical cancer in early stage while 22 (11%) respondents knew about HPV vaccine as preventive measure.

Conclusions: In present study, though women have heard about cervical cancer, proper knowledge was very less. Also, awareness about HPV vaccine and Pap smear was less. There is need for proper information and facilities for pap smear and HPV vaccination.


Cancer prevention, Cervical screening, Health education, HPV vaccine

Full Text:



World Health Organization. Globocan fact sheets. International Cancer Research. Available at:

Guidelines for cervical cancer screening. Government of India and WHO Collaborative Program. Available at:

WHO. Comprehensive Cervical Cancer Control; A Guide to Essential Practice. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press, World Health Organization, 2006.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program 1991–2002 national report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services; 2005. Available at: 2002_National_Report.pdf

Hall HI, Uhler RJ, Coughlin SS, Miller DS. Breast and cervical cancer screening among Appalachian women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2002;11(1):137-42.

Swan J, Breen N, Coates RJ, Rimer BK, Lee NC. Progress in cancer screening practices in the United States. Results from the 2000 national health interview survey. Cancer. 2003;97(6):1528-40.

International Agency for research on cancer IARC Monographs on Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Human Papilloma Virus. 2007;90

Ntekim A. Cervical cancer in sub-Sahara Africa. InTopics on cervical cancer with an advocacy for prevention 2012. Intech.

Christian Nordqvist, What you need to know about cervical cancer, Medical News Today. 2017 Available at:

Radha KR, Reena RP, Jacob KJ. Preventive gynecology: attitude and practice among gynecologists of Central Kerala. Int J Reproduct, Contracep, Obstet, Gynecol. 2017;6(6):2318-22.

Aswathy S, Quereshi MA, Kurian B, Leelamoni K. Cervical cancer screening: Current knowledge and practice among women in a rural population of Kerala, India. Indian J Med Res. 2012;136(2):205.

Kumar HH, Tanya S. A study on knowledge and screening for cervical cancer among women in Mangalore city. Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2014;4(5):751-6.

Yanikkerem E, Goker A, Piro N, Dikayak S, Koyuncu FM. Knowledge about cervical cancer, pap test and barriers towards cervical screening of women in Turkey. J Cancer Edu. 2013;28(2):375-83.

Mwaka AD, Orach CG, Were EM, Lyratzopoulos G, Wabinga H, Roland M. Awareness of cervical cancer risk factors and symptoms: cross‐sectional community survey in post‐conflict northern Uganda. Health Expect. 2016;19(4):854-67.

Shiferaw N, Brooks MI, Salvador-Davila G, Lonsako S, Kassahun K, Ansel J, et al. Knowledge and Awareness of Cervical Cancer among HIV-Infected Women in Ethiopia. Obstet Gynecol Int; 2016.

Asthana S, Satyanarayana L. Cervical cancer screening from the perspective of a rural population of northern India. Religion. 2013;61(19.4):11-9.