knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors and symptoms in the refugees communities of Palabek refugee settlement ,Lamwo district.
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ABSTRACT Background There are 1.2 million refugees in Uganda (UNHCR 2019), most of these being women and prone to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among women in Uganda. However, there is limited knowledge of risk factors and symptoms of cervical cancer among refugee populations in Uganda. In this study, we sought to determine the knowledge of cervical cancer risk factors and symptoms amongst women in Palabek refugee settlement, Lamwo district Methods We conducted a cross sectional study involving quantitative and qualitative techniques in Palabek refugee settlement. We interviewed 815 women aged 18-60 years, randomly selected using multistage sampling. Ten in depth interviews were conducted. Quantitative data were analysed using STATA 14.1 and bivariate and multivariate analyses conducted. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results Less than half (40%) of the respondents had heard about cervical cancer before this study. Of these, most (92.5%) of the respondents recognised multiple sexual partners, (88.5%) of the respondents’ recognised early onset of sexual intercourse, and (86.3%) recognised infections with the Human Papillomavirus as risk factors for cervical cancer. Less than half (49.8%) recognised multiparty and (37.7%) recognised smoking as symptoms of cervical cancer. Unlike symptoms, there was no statistically significant association between recognition of cervical cancer risk factors with age, marital status, level of education, employment status and distance to the nearest health facility. Conclusion and Recommendations A low proportion of refugee women had heard about cervical cancer. However, of these the majority of refugee women could recognize risk factors of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer prevention interventions including (HPV) vaccination ought to hinge on the high level of awareness of the risk factors and be further improved through public health education and sensitisation of the people in order to promote prompt health seeking and early detection of symptomaticcervicalcancer.