301O - Exploring perceptions of cervical cancer in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Date 16 December 2016
Event ESMO Asia 2016 Congress
Session Gynaecological cancers
Topics Cervical Cancer
Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Presenter Nabiha Islam
Citation Annals of Oncology (2016) 27 (suppl_9): ix94-ix103. 10.1093/annonc/mdw585
Authors N.T. Islam1, A. Lofters2, A. Nessa3, M. Vahabi4, O. Ginsburg5, T. Ishaque6
  • 1Department Of Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital University of Toronto, M5B 1W8 - Toronto/CA
  • 2Dept Of Family And Community Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital University of Toronto, M5B 1W8 - Toronto/CA
  • 3Dept Of Obstetrics And Gynecology, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, 1000 - Dhaka/BD
  • 4Daphne Cockwell School Of Nursing, Ryerson University, M5B 2K3 - Toronto/CA
  • 5Clinical Public Health Division, Women's College Research Institute, M5G 1N8 - Toronto/CA
  • 6Research And Evaluation Division, BRAC University, 1212 - Dhaka/BD



The goals of this study were to assess knowledge of cervical cancer symptoms and risk factors and to identify barriers to cervical cancer screening among women being seen in a colposcopy center in urban Dhaka, Bangladesh.


This was a descriptive, exploratory study. We administered an eight-question survey to 50 women at an outpatient gynecology clinic at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), a colposcopy center in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The survey included both open-ended and closed-ended questions which assessed knowledge of cervical cancer (including risk factors, symptoms, prevention, and treatment), use of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) testing, and reasons for non-testing.


The majority of women correctly identified postcoital bleeding, irregular bleeding, and constitutional symptoms (fever, weight loss) as symptoms of cervical cancer. The majority of women also correctly identified multiparity, multiple sexual partners, early age at first intercourse, human papilloma virus (HPV), and cigarette smoking as risk factors. However, most women did not recognize lack of condom use as a risk factor for cervical cancer. The majority of women surveyed believed cervical cancer was preventable but most felt that it was not curable. Only 21 of the 50 women had previously undergone VIA testing. Of these 21 women, all stated they would return for repeat testing. Of the 29 women who had never had VIA testing, the most common barriers identified included not knowing what VIA testing was and the assumption that if a woman has no symptoms, she does not need to undergo VIA testing.


The 50 women in this study displayed relatively strong knowledge of symptoms and risk factors for cervical cancer. However, the most common barrier to VIA testing continues to be lack of knowledge about the test itself and lack of knowledge about the use of VIA testing in primary prevention (i.e. screening is targeted at asymptomatic women). Bangladesh is in dire need of a national cervical cancer screening program to reduce mortality from this very preventable and treatable disease.

Clinical trial indentification


Legal entity responsible for the study

St. Michael\'s Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (REB approval obtained from both institutions)




All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.