What do British women know about cervical cancer symptoms and risk factors?

Eur J Cancer. 2012 Nov;48(16):3001-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2012.05.004. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Objective: To identify levels of cervical cancer risk factor and symptom awareness, as well as predictors of higher awareness in a United Kingdom (UK) female population.

Design: Population based survey.

Setting: Participants' homes in the UK.

Sample: UK representative sample of females aged 16 years and over (n=1392).

Materials and methods: Respondents completed the Cervical Cancer Awareness Measure which included questions on awareness of cervical cancer symptoms and risk factors (both recalled and recognised). Linear regression analyses were used to identify predictors of higher symptom and risk factor recognition scores.

Main outcome measures: Awareness of cervical cancer symptoms and risk factors.

Results: Sixty-five percent of respondents were unable to recall any risk factors and 75% were unable to recall any symptoms. Awareness was higher when women were prompted (95% recognised at least one risk factor and 93% at least one symptom). Independent predictors of risk factor recognition were older age and higher education. Symptom recognition was associated with older age, White ethnicity, higher education and having a close experience of cervical cancer.

Conclusions: To reduce inequalities in awareness, interventions should target younger women with lower education and those from ethnic minority groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Awareness*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice* / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology
  • White People / psychology
  • Women / psychology*
  • Young Adult