The aim of the study was to determine beliefs and utilization of cervical cancer screening and prevalence of low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion/high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion among a university-based population in the Southwest region of Cameroon.
Materials and Methods
A public-private partnership was established between the University of Arizona, University of Buea, and the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services. A single-day screening clinic using visual inspection with acetic acid and Lugol's iodine solution (VILI) was provided at the University of Buea. Screening results were documented as negative, low-grade, high-grade, or suspicious for cancer. Thermocoagulation and loop electrosurgical excisional procedure was available for low- and high-grade lesions, respectively. A survey was conducted before screening and factors associated with screening practices were evaluated.
Of 120 clinic participants, 107 (89.2%) believed that treatment of precancerous lesions helped prevent cervical cancer, but most (67.5%) had never been screened. Eighty women (66.7%) were aware of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and only 2 had received vaccination. Among 115 patients screened, the prevalence of abnormal screening was 6.09%. Low-grade lesions were treated with thermocoagulation and high-grade lesions were treated with loop electrosurgical excisional procedure.
Despite knowledge of cervical cancer screening benefits, the majority had not been screened or vaccinated. This study suggests a desire for additional screening services in this population and validates the utility of public-private partnerships in low-income regions.