Breast and cervical cancer screening prevalence and associated factors among women in the South African general population

22 Oct 2019

The aims of the study were to estimate the prevalence of breast and cervical cancer screening among women in the South African general population and assess associated factors. Methods: Data from a national populationbased cross-sectional household survey in South Africa in 2012 for 10,831 women aged 30+ years were analysed using bivariate and multivariable logistic regression. The outcome variables were cervical cancer screening (Papanicolaou smear test) and breast cancer screening (mammography). Exposure variables were sociodemographic factors, lifestyle variables, and chronic conditions. Results: The prevalences of Papanicolaou (PAP) smear test and mammography participation were 52.0% and 13.4%, respectively. On multivariable logistic regression analysis, women with higher education, those who were non-black African, having medical aid and having chronic conditions were more likely to undergo a Pap smear test and mammography. Living in rural areas was related to a lower likelihood of receiving both types of screening. In addition, undertaking moderate or vigorous physical activity was associated with breast cancer screening. Conclusion: Screening for cervical cancer was relatively high but for breast cancer it was low, despite the latter being a major public health problem in South Africa. This may be attributed to the limited availability, affordability, and accessibility of breast cancer screening services among socio-economically disadvantaged individuals There are some socio-economic disparities in adopting both breast and cervical cancer screening guidelines that could be targeted by interventions. Keywords: Breast cancer- cervical cancer- chronic conditions- lifestyle factors- South African women- national survey