Awareness level of risk factors and prevention of cervical cancer among female university students in Krakow

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Ewa Mędrela-Kuder

1 (38) 2014 s. 20–24
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Fraza do cytowania: Mędrela-Kuder E. Awareness level of risk factors and prevention of cervical cancer among female university students in Krakow. Polski Przegląd Nauk o Zdrowiu. 2014;1(38):20–24.

Introduction. Cervical cancer plays the second leading role, after breast cancer, as a cause of death from malignant neoplasms. The main risk factors include chronic infections with human papillomavirus (HPV), age, early sexual initiation, large number of sexual partners, many childbirths, low economic status, and perennial smoking. Aim of the study. The study aims at assessing the level of knowledge on cervical cancer among female university students. Material and methods. The research involved a group of 160 women following full-time five-year Master’s programmes, divided equally into eighty Physiotherapy (University of Physical Education: AWF) and eighty Chemical Technology (Technical University of Krakow: PK) students. The age of the respondents ranged from twenty-two to twenty-five. All Physiotherapy and 97.5% of Chemical Technology students were unmarried. A voluntary, anonymous survey method was selected, and a dedicated questionnaire developed for the purpose of the study. Results. Most AWF students specified early sexual initiation and a large number of sexual partners as risk factors. Sixty-five per cent of Physiotherapy and nearly half of the Chemical Technology students felt that the symptoms occur late, only when the disease has already become invasive. In the vast majority, the women following both study programmes identified the Papanicolaou test as a means of early pre-cancerous process detection. Most Physiotherapy (92.5%) and sixty per cent of Chemical Technology students were aware of the existence of the human papilloma virus vaccine. Ninety per cent of cancer cases were attributed to chronic infections with the HPV by 80.0% of AWF and almost half of PK students. Conclusions. Overall, these results indicate insufficient general knowledge on cervical cancer among students of both programmes. Those enrolled for Physiotherapy possess a higher awareness level than the other group, which can be explained by their university education profile.

Key words: cervical cancer, risk factors, prevention.

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