Utilisation and Perceptions of Cervical Cancer Screening Services
Cervical cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed and the fourth commonest cause of cancer death among women worldwide. Even though cervical cancer is preventable, its screening rate has been reported to be low in Ghana. To the best of our knowledge, no study has focused on the utilisation and perceptions of cervical cancer among women in their reproductive age in Ghana. The present study aimed at assessing the utilisation and perceptions of cervical cancer screening services among women who seek reproductive healthcare services. A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among women aged 18 years and above. Using a two-stage sampling technique, 369 participants were selected from 2 out of 4 eligible study sites. Data on the perceptions and utilisation of cervical cancer screening services were collected following ethical approval. The data were collected using both English and Twi versions of the questionnaire. The data were descriptively and inferentially analysed. A few of the participants had been previously screened for cervical cancer (n = 69; 18.7%), while a greater proportion of the participants appropriately perceived the screening benefits (> 70%), and an equally greater percentage of them harboured negative perceptions which prevented them from engaging in such endeavours (> 80%). Significant differences in perception were, however, observed in two-fifths of the studied areas (6/14) among the screened and unscreened participants. Cervical cancer screening services were not utilised by the majority of the participating women. Screening was associated with socio-demographic characteristics such as marital status, parity, education, and employment status. Inappropriate perceptions on cervical cancer screening may account for the low utilisation of cervical cancer screening. Therefore, all-inclusive health education on the benefits of cervical cancer screening for both women and men should be a priority for stakeholders and all health organisations.