Risk factors and prevalence of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions among women in south India: A community-based cross-sectional study

Indian J Cancer. 2021 Jan 27. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_699_19. Online ahead of print.


Background: Cervical cancer in India accounts for one-fifth of the global burden. Well-defined precancerous stages help early detection of the disease. Apart from human papillomavirus, the risk factors include age, education, occupation, early age at marriage and first delivery, abortions, and multiple sexual partners. Prevalence and risk factors for cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL) among women by Pap smear screening in south India were analyzed through a cross-sectional study.

Methods: Women from rural and urban area were motivated by local accredited social health activists to attend pre-fixed Pap smear clinics in government hospitals. Pap smears collected in these clinics were taken to the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, processed, and cytology reports were prepared. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for SIL and high-grade SIL (HSIL).

Results: The number of SIL was 67 out of 10,580 and HSIL was 39. Having higher education (Odds Ratio, OR:0.05(95% Confidence Interval, CI: 0.01-0.2), being married but living single (OR : 5.3, 95%CI:2.4-11.5), Having> 2 abortions (OR:21, 95% CI:4.5-24), having younger age at delivery (OR : 0.1, 95% CI:0.01-0.3) and having unhealthy cervix (OR: 16.4, 95% CI:6.2-42.7) were the factors found to be the associated risk factors in multiple regression analysis.

Conclusion: Pap smear screening can be focused on women with risk factors such as low education, married but living single, having> 2 abortions, younger age at delivery, and unhealthy cervix on per speculum examination.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; HSIL; LSIL; Pap smear.