Participation rates in cervical cancer screening: experience in rural Northern Greece

Hippokratia 2011; 15 (4): 346-352

A. Vakfari, M. Gavana, S. Giannakopoulos, E. Smyrnakis, A. Benos


Background and aim: Cervical cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer mortality among women worldwide but it is one of the most preventable cancers due to the Pap smear test. The aim of this study was to estimate the participation rate of females in screening of cervical cancer with Pap smear test.
Methods: The study took place in a hospital in Rural Northern Greece during April and May 2007. Convenience sampling was performed and questionnaires were completed by 214 eligible females aged 20???64 years.
Results: One hundred and twenty four (57.9%) of the participants had had a Pap-test at some point in their lifetime. 72 of them (33.65%) had the test performed for the first time according to current guidelines. 13.6% were unaware about the recommended onset age of the test, 16.4% did not know the proper intervals, while 22.4% did not know the recommended upper age limit. 32.6% were informed by mass media, family members and friends. The take-up rates, the source of information and the setting where the examination was performed were related to age, origin, income, educational status, type of occupation and place of residence. Disparities in participation rates were detected.
Conclusions: Special efforts should be made by National Health Services towards enhancing secondary prevention of cervical cancer by increasing participation rates of older women, those with lower educational background, females with low income, Roma, retired or unemployed and residents of rural areas.