The Invisible Threat of The Pandemic: Cervical Cancer Screening Change According to Health Belief of Women

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Gerçek Öter E., Güler B., Yağcan H.

Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi Hemşirelik Fakültesi Elektronik Dergisi, vol.16, no.4, pp.502-512, 2023 (Scopus) identifier


Background: During the pandemic process, changes were made in cancer screening programs in order to reduce the density of hospitals and prevent the spread of the pandemic. Objectives: To determine the health beliefs, thoughts and practices of women regarding cervical cancer and pap-smear testing during the COVID-19. Methods: The cross-sectional study was carried out with 361 women who filled out the questionnaire online through the social media application. Cervical Cancer and Pap Smear Test Health Belief Model Scale was used to collect data. Results: The women’s 81.2% stated that they did not have a pap smear test and 72.6% of them stated that the pap smear test should not be postponed during the pandemic. Their 76.7% stated that they did not want to get a self-swab smear test at home during the pandemic, 49.3% of them stated that they could get Human Papilloma Virus vaccine in the pandemic. Cervical Cancer and Pap Smear Test Health Belief Model Scale sub-dimension mean scores of Pap smear benefits and motivation (15.12 ± 4.96), pap smear barriers (40.09 ± 6.79), cervical cancer care/seriousness (26.21 ± 2.62), cervical cancer sensitivity (12.96 ± 1.88) and cervical cancer health motivation (7.36 ± 2.37). Conclusion: Although women’s perception of pap-tests and their level of cervical cancer sensitivity was found high, most of them did not have pap smear screening in the pandemic period. This may increase the incidence of cervical cancer in the future. In order for women to continue their participation in screening programs during the pandemic, health personnel should take the necessary precautions according to restriction and relaxation processes. Keywords: Cervical Cancer, COVID-19, Health Belief Model, Pap Smear, Thought