Factors influencing women to participate in cervical cancer screening by providing menstrual pads: A population-based study from rural areas of Maharashtra state, India

Indian J Cancer. 2021 Jun 21. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_910_19. Online ahead of print.


Background: India accounts for a quarter of the world cervical cancer burden. Cervical cancer is highly preventable. However, low level of participating women in screening is one of the major issues. The aim of this work was to study the factors that influence women to participate in cervical cancer screening by providing menstrual pads for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.

Methods: Menstrual clothes were collected from two different populations from the rural areas of Maharashtra state for HPV testing to screen for cervical cancer. For this study, out of 945 participated women, 557 (58.9%) provided their menstrual pads. Multivariate logistic regression was applied to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI).

Results: The probability of providing the menstrual pads was high among the women who were highly educated compared to those with less education (OR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.0-1.9), having mobile phone facilities as compared to those with no mobile phones (OR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.0-2.0), who were using new cloths as menstrual pads compared to those who did not use the same (OR: 8.5; 95% CI: 5.0-14.3), who did not have tobacco habit as compared to those who had tobacco habit (OR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1-1.9) and in the village where health worker was stationed as compared to the village where health worker was not stationed (OR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.4-2.5).

Conclusion: Factors including health worker availability, using mobile phones for communication and high education level facilitate women's participation. To improve the participation, there is need to apply special strategies for older age group, less educated women and women having tobacco habit.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; early detection of cancer; human papillomavirus (HPV); menstrual pad; prevention.