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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 477-482

Perceptions and concerns of women undergoing Pap smear examination in a tertiary care hospital of India

1 Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, India
2 Department of Gynecology-Obstetrics, Kasturba Hospital, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
J Kishore
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.92261

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Background: Cervical cancer is one of the major causes of deaths due to cancer among women in India. Pap smear is one of the best methods to detect early changes in cervix. However, there is lack of data on awareness level of women about Pap smear and various risk factors for cervical cancer. Objectives: To study the awareness about various risk factors for cervical cancer, health-seeking behavior and hygienic practices among women and to assess the distress experienced by these women before the Pap smear examination. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out on women coming for a Pap smear examination in a tertiary teaching hospital in New Delhi. A pretested interview schedule was used to get information after obtaining their informed consent. Results: Fifty-seven percent stated that they did not consult a doctor when they noticed the symptoms the first time. Sixty-one percent did not know what a cervical cancer is and a same percentage of women did not know what a Pap smear examination was. Older age group, Muslim and literate women had higher number of abnormal Pap smear results. Women who reported being stressed in their lives had higher number of abnormal smears as compared to women who claimed to lead a stress free life. Poor hygienic practices among these women from urban areas were also associated with abnormal Pap smear results. Conclusion: The study concluded that factors such as poor awareness, shyness, poor hygiene, and old age could be responsible for abnormal Pap smears and this needs special attention in cancer prevention activities of the government.


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