What do university students know about cervical cancer and HPV vaccine?

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2022 May;26(10):3735-3744. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202205_28870.

Abstract

Objective: Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. Infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes is responsible for most cervical cancer cases. This study aimed to assess the knowledge of undergraduate medical and non-medical students about cervical cancer and HPV vaccines.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was distributed to 172 students in the final 2 years of an undergraduate program at the College of Medicine and the College of Business and Art at the King Saud University.

Results: Thirty-one and 83 students (36% and 96.5%, respectively) in the non-medical and medical cohorts, respectively, answered that cervical cancer is preventable (p < 0.001). Further, there was a significant difference in the two cohorts regarding their responses to the etiology of cervical cancer (p < 0.001). Forty-five of the medical students answered correctly that the vaccine should be administered to boys and girls alike (52.3%), whereas only 19 (22.1%) non-medical students gave this answer. Moreover, 52 of the medical students (60.5%) expressed willingness to take the vaccine, whereas only 23 (26.7%) of the non-medical students were willing to receive the vaccination. The most common primary source of knowledge of the medical students was medical courses (96.5%), whereas for non-medical students was social media (66.28%). Vaccine availability was the commonest obstacle preventing medical students from receiving the vaccine, whereas that of non-medical students was inadequate information.

Conclusions: Medical students' knowledge about cervical cancer and vaccination was more accurate than that of non-medical students. We expect that the public will have an even lower level of knowledge. We recommend including necessary information about the vaccine in schools, colleges, and community education programs.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Students, Medical*
  • Universities
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms*

Substances

  • Papillomavirus Vaccines