Enhancing the Knowledge of Cervical Cancer Screening among Female Nursing Students: An Interventional Educational Program
Background: Cervical cancer is a growing health risk facing women worldwide with the human papillomavirus (HPV) as the primary underlying cause. Pap smear is a simple screening test that can detect early changes in cervical cells, which might develop into cancer cells. Raising awareness of cervical cancer prevention has a significant impact on decreasing the burden of the disease. The aim of the study is to assess female nursing students' knowledge on early detection and screening of cervical cancer, and to determine the effectiveness of an educational program. Methods: A quasi-experimental research design (one group for pre- and post-tests) was utilized with a convenience sample of 130 female nursing students in one of the nursing colleges in Saudi Arabia. The study’s educational intervention included information about anatomy of genital tract and the importance of regular check-ups. The pre- and post-tests were applied to identify changes after intervention measures. Results: The mean age of the participants were 21.32 years (SD: 1.34). The findings revealed a significant improvement of post-test students’ knowledge in all items related to risk factors, signs and symptoms, occurrence, identification of HPV as causative agent, vaccination against HPV, and finally Pap smear for early detection and screening of cervical cancer. Conclusion: The study results support implementing educational intervention to improve nursing students' knowledge and awareness about cervical cancer prevention. Furthermore, it is imperative that cervical cancer awareness education modules should be developed and integrated within the nursing curriculum. Further studies with large sample size are recommended to increase generalization of the results.
Key words: cervical cancer, education program, primary prevention, nursing students, Saudi Arabia
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