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Exploring Iranian women's perceptions and experiences regarding cervical cancer-preventive behaviors.

Khazaee-Pool, Maryam; Yargholi, Fatemeh; Jafari, Fatemeh; Ponnet, Koen.
BMC Womens Health; 18(1): 145, 2018 08 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | Set 2018 | ID: mdl-30170632
Resumo: BACKGROUND: Preventive behaviors regarding cervical cancer are essential for women's health. Even though many studies have addressed women's knowledge and attitudes toward cervical cancer, little information is available about their experiences of cervical cancer-preventive behaviors. Thus, the aim of this study is to explore the perceptions and experiences of Iranian women regarding cervical cancer-preventive behaviors. METHODS: This study used a qualitative approach and was conducted in Zanjan, Iran. Participants included 27 women, aged 20-60 years, with no previous history of cervical cancer symptoms or diagnosis. Data were obtained through semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. Inductive qualitative content analysis was employed to converge and compare themes through participant data. RESULTS: The following six main themes emerged from the analysis: attitudes toward cervical cancer and preventive behaviors, preventive behaviors' concept, self-care, religion and culture, perceived social support, and awareness about cervical cancer and preventive behavior. The findings revealed that several women had misconceptions about cervical cancer and were even superstitious about the causes of it. Fear, shame, and embarrassment were reasons for not undertaking cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer was also linked to worries about decreased marital satisfaction, sexuality, and femininity. However, religion was considered a positive factor to conducting cancer-preventive behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that improving knowledge about the causes of cervical cancer, increasing awareness of the potential consequences of it, and creating positive attitudes toward screening behavior might encourage Iranian women to perform cervical cancer-preventive behaviors.