Tran N.T.,International Planned Parenthood Association |
Choe S.I.,Korean Family Planning and Maternal and Child Health Association KFP and MCHA |
Taylor R.,University of New South Wales |
Ko W.S.,Korean Family Planning and Maternal and Child Health Association KFP and MCHA |
And 2 more authors.
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention | Year: 2011
Background: This study assessed women from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for: (i) their level of knowledge of cervical cancer and attitudes and practices concerning cervical screening (KAP); and (ii) differences in KAP between rural and urban groups. Methods: In a descriptive cross-sectional study, a purposive sample of 200 women in 6 provinces of DPRK (rural: n=99, urban: n=101) were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. Differences between proportions were assessed using the χ2 test. Significance was defined as p<0.05. Results: 63% of rural and 60% of urban participants had heard of cervical cancer (p>0.05). 42% knew that it is the most common cancer of the female reproductive tract, 55% knew that all women are at risk, but only 36% were aware of cervical cancer's preventability. Some 13% of rural and 29% of urban respondents had heard of cervical cytology testing (p<0.001). Only 6% of participants had ever received a cervical cytology smear. Among the reasons for not screening, 48% mentioned a lack of awareness of cervical cytology; 47% their dislike of pelvic examinations; 17% of rural and 31% of urban interviewees reported the absence of symptoms (p<0.05); and 62% of rural and 0% of urban women mentioned travelling long distances to service delivery points (p<0.001). Conclusions: There is a reasonable level of knowledge of cervical cancer among North Korean women; however, there are major gaps regarding awareness of its preventability and actual uptake of cytology screening services. There are no significant differences between rural and urban women with regard to their KAP. Large scale health promotion campaigns are needed to educate women and the community about cervical cancer and its preventability through screening. The national health care system needs to ensure that screening services are effective, accessible, feasible and acceptable to women.