Objectives. This study comes at an opportune time due to recent introduction of the National Cervical Cancer Screen- ing programme in Malta. It aims to assess the knowledge of 25-64 year-old females on cervical cancer and attitudes towards screening.
Study design. A cross-sectional, telephone-based, quantitative survey conducted in 2017.
Methods. The survey tool was based on the Cervical Cancer Awareness Measure questionnaire and was carried out among a random stratified sample of females of 25-64 years, resident in Malta. Multivariate logistic regression models were applied.
Results. 407 females (85% response rate) were interviewed. Knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors and symptoms was found to be significantly higher in women with a higher level of education (p < 0.001). Cervical screening was attended every 3 years by 69% of respondents. Regular attendees were more likely to have children (p = 0.001), have experienced cancer in a close family member (p = 0.002), and were between 35-44 and 45-54 years old (p < 0.001). The main reasons for non-attendance were embarrassment, fear of the test and fear of the result.
Conclusion. This research provides a better understanding of who are the vulnerable groups with respect to cervical cancer knowledge and screening attendance. Improving health literacy and implementing health promotion campaigns will improve early symptom recognition, risk factor knowledge and attendance for screening.
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