Cervical Cancer in Bangladesh: Community Perceptions of Cervical Cancer and Cervical Cancer Screening
We investigated the awareness of, and the attitude towards screening for, cervical cancer in Bangladesh. We performed a qualitative study using focus group discussions (FGD). The framework approach to qualitative analysis was used. The study was performed in the catchment areas of Addin Hospital, Jessore, Southern Bangladesh (peri-urban) and LAMB hospital, Parbatipur, North West Bangladesh (rural). A total of 220 men, women and adolescents participated in 28 FGDs. Awareness of cervical cancer was widespread. Knowledge about causes was often inadequate. The perceived consequences of cervical cancer were numerous and awareness of the need for cervical cancer treatment was present. Barriers to accessing care include: low priority for seeking help for symptoms, limited availability of health services and cost. Most women were unaware of the possibility of screening via speculum examination, which was considered acceptable to women (and men), as long as the examination was done by a female healthcare provider in an environment with sufficient privacy. In conclusion, adequate gynaecological services are not available or accessible for most women in rural and peri-urban Bangladesh. However, awareness of cervical cancer is widespread. Screening for cervical cancer in these communities is acceptable if done by a female healthcare provider under conditions with sufficient privacy.