Knowledge of cervical cancer and HPV vaccine in Bangladeshi women: A population based, cross-sectional study

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: The objective of this study was to assess the level of knowledge of cervical cancer among Bangladeshi women and to assess their willingness to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Methods: A population-based, cross-sectional survey was conducted from July to December 2011 in one urban and one rural area of Bangladesh. A total of 2037 ever-married women, aged 14 to 64 years, were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data on socio-demographic characteristics and knowledge of cervical cancer were collected. Willingness to receive the HPV vaccine was assessed. Univariate analyses were completed using quantitative data collected. Multivariable logistic regression models were developed to identify factors associated with having heard of cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine. Results: The majority of study participants reported to have heard of cervical cancer (urban: 89.7%, rural 93.4%; P = 0.003). The odds of having heard of cervical cancer were significantly higher in urban women aged 35-44 years (aOR: 2.92 (1.34-6.33) and rural women aged 25-34 years (aOR: 2.90 (1.24-6.73) compared to those aged less than 24 years. Very few women reported to have detailed knowledge on risk factors (urban:9.1%, rural: 8.8%) and prevention (urban: 6.4%, rural: 4.4%) of cervical cancer. In our sample, one in five urban women and one in twenty rural women heard about a vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer. Among urban women, secondary education or higher (aOR: 3.48, 95% CI: 1.67-7.25), age of 20 years and above at marriage (aOR: 2.83, 95% CI: 1.61-5.00), and high socioeconomic status (aOR: 2.25, 95% CI: 1.28-3.95) were factors associated with having heard of the HPV vaccine. Willingness to receive the HPV vaccine among study participants either for themselves (urban: 93.9%, rural: 99.4%) or for their daughters (urban: 91.8%, rural: 99.2%) was high. Conclusions: Detailed knowledge of cervical cancer among Bangladeshi women was found to be poor. Education on cervical cancer must include information on symptoms, risk factors, and preventive methods. Despite poor knowledge, the study population was willing to receive the HPV vaccine.