Awareness of human papilloma virus and cervical cancer prevention among Greek female healthcare workers

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Abstract

The incidence rate of cervical cancer varies by geographic region, with less developed regions showing the highest rates. All risk factors for cervical cancer are actually preventable if appropriate lifestyle changes are adopted. In addition, vaccines protecting against the majority of human papilloma virus (HPV) high-risk types have been developed. Even though cervical cancer is preventable, not all women are aware of this or how it can be prevented. Thus, it is essential for every nation to assess the level of knowledge among women of cervical cancer and HPV prevention. In this work, we assessed the level of awareness and attitudes of Greek female healthcare workers on cervical cancer and HPV prevention through the delivery of a validated questionnaire between March and June 2012 in three hospitals in Greece. Our results show that there exist gaps in the knowledge of women on this topic, especially in terms of the newest information on cervical cancer prevention through HPV testing and vaccination. In fact, only 80% of surveyed women knew about the existence of HPV testing. We propose that more information needs to be transmitted to Greek women and men on HPV testing and vaccination. Even though the incidence of cervical cancer is not extremely high in Greece, this number can easily change, especially in the face of the economic crisis and the increasing rates of migration, which can result in higher rates of HPV infection in the population if no measures for HPV prevention are implemented.

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