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Women’s Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Anal Pap Testing

Ferris, Daron MD1; Lambert, Rebecca CCRC1; Waller, Jennifer PhD2; Dickens, Porscha3; Kabaria, Reena3; Han, Chi-Son3; Steelman, Charlotte3; Fawole, Fiyinfoluwa3

Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease: October 2013 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 463–468
doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e3182760ad5
Original Articles

Objective The objectives of this study were to determine women’s knowledge of human papillomavirus (HPV) and anal cancer and knowledge and attitudes toward the anal Pap test.

Materials and Methods A convenience sample of 370 women from the general population 21 years or older completed a 48-question preintervention survey; read an informational pamphlet about anal cancer, HPV, and anal Pap tests; and then completed a 21-question postintervention survey in Augusta, Atlanta, and Savannah, GA. The survey assessed their knowledge about anal cancer, HPV, and the anal Pap test and determined their attitudes toward the anal Pap test. Only preintervention results were considered in this article. Descriptive statistics were determined for all variables.

Results Only 17.6% of women had previously heard of anal Pap tests, and the majority knew nothing (48.9%) or only a little (38.5%) about anal cancer. Yet, most women (78.6%) knew that anal Pap tests help to prevent anal cancer, and 86.2% knew that anal Pap tests are not only for people who have anal sex. Only a minority of women recognized known risk factors for anal cancer. Lack of knowledge about anal Pap tests (43.8%), pain or discomfort (41.3%), cost (24.0%), and embarrassment (21.2%) were the main reasons cited for not wanting an anal Pap test.

Conclusions Although most women had limited knowledge about anal cancer and anal Pap tests and few recognized known risk factors for anal cancer, women were receptive to screening. Further implementation of anal Pap testing for women may be improved by understanding women’s limited knowledge and concerns.

Women lack knowledge about anal cancer and anal Pap test but are receptive to screening.

1Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and 2Department of Biostatistics, 3Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, Georgia

Reprint requests to: Daron G. Ferris, MD, Georgia Health Sciences University, 1423 Harper St, HH-1013, Augusta, Georgia 30912-3500. E-mail

Reena Kabaria received funding from Medical College of Georgia Dean’s Scholarship Fund.

Copyright © 2013 by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology