Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding cervical cancer among women and men in Kampala City, Uganda
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Cervical cancer is a major public health problem throughout the world. It is the most common gynecological malignancy in Uganda. Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding cervical cancer are important determinants of health seeking behaviors including screening and other preventive behaviors. Good knowledge among men would enable them to embrace the prevention programs and also to support and encourage the women to go for screening. This study identified gaps in knowledge attitudes and practices among women and men with the aim to promote control of cervical cancer in Kampala City. Objectives To assess knowledge, attitudes and practices towards cervical cancer among women and men to inform development of interventions that will promote prevention and early detection of cervical cancer and thus improve treatment outcomes among women in Kampala City. Methods This mixed design study was conducted in Kampala City among men and women aged 18 to 60 years. Data were collected using qualitative and quantitative methods. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted for both men and women. Data from FGDs were tape recorded, transcribed and analyzed by content analysis, while quantitative data were entered into Epi-Info 3.5.1 and analyzed using STATA version 9.0 statistical programs. Results More than two thirds of women (86.0%) and (79.4%) of men had heard about cervical cancer. However, the overall knowledge about cervical cancer was low (only 9.9% of all participants; 11.8% women and 8.1% men). Both men and women had low knowledge about cause, symptoms, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer. 55.9% of women knew that cancer was xii caused by a virus compared to men (37.5%). Almost two thirds of the women, (82.4%) had heard about screening of cervical cancer compared to 74.3% men. However regarding the HPV, less than half of the men 39.0% and women 30.9% were aware of HPV as the cause of cervical cancer. Fewer participants were knowledgeable about the transmission and prevention of HPV. The most common source of information for cervical cancer for both men and women was health workers, followed by peers and radio programs for men. Regarding attitudes, women who believed that cervical cancer was preventable were 76.5% while men were 63.2%. 76.5% of women believed that cervical cancer was treatable compared to 61.8% men. As regards practice, only 12.5% women reported that they had ever gone for cervical cancer screening and only 5.2% men of reported that their partners had gone for screening. Conclusion and Recommendations Knowledge about cervical cancer was low among both men and women and lower among men. Though the attitudes towards prevention and treatment of cervical cancer were positive, the practices of screening were still poor. It is therefore recommended that more health education focusing on cervical cancer cause, treatment and prevention through screening should be done through the media, community health teams, and religious leaders and through health workers. Men should be educated too about cervical cancer since they play a big part in the transmission of its causative agent.