Female college students’ beliefs about cervical cancer screening

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Abstract

Purpose:

To explore female college students’ perceived benefits and barriers to cervical cancer screening and perceived vulnerability to cervical cancer.

Method:

The study was exploratory and cross sectional. The Pap Smear Belief Questionnaire was distributed online to a sample of 267 female undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students.

Findings:

Students who obtained routine Pap smears perceived greater benefits and fewer barriers to routine screening than the students who did not obtain routine Pap smears. Personal vulnerability to cervical cancer was not a significant finding. Students who were in a long-term relationship, non-smoking and initiated sexual intercourse at a younger age were more likely to obtain routine screening.

Conclusion:

Stressing importance of preventive health care associated with routine cervical cancer screening is important to promote women's health regardless of age or level of education. Further studies with a broader range of college students as participants are needed to better understand their beliefs about the benefits and barriers to obtaining routine screening, and their perceptions of vulnerability to cervical cancer.

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