Gynécologie & Obstétrique

Gynécologie & Obstétrique
Libre accès

ISSN: 2161-0932


Women's Knowledge Regarding the Effects of Cigarette Smoking and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection on the Development of Cervical Cancer in Poland

Barbara Kozakiewicz, Ewa Dmoch-Gajzlerska, Małgorzata Chądzyńska and Małgorzata Stefaniak

Introduction: Cervical cancer is one of the major causes of death in women worldwide. Women’s knowledge regarding the effects of cigarette smoking and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection on the development of cervical cancer as well as the appropriate preventive measures should play a significant part in health education of women.

Aim: The aim of the study conducted in a sample of women from different socio-economic groups was to assess women’s knowledge regarding the effects of cigarette smoking and HPV infection on the development of cervical cancer.

Material and methods: In the years 2010-2012, a questionnaire-based survey was conducted in 870 adult and adolescent females aged 14 to 70 years (mean age 37.1) living in Poland in rural areas and towns of different sizes.

Results: In groups with different demographic characteristics, 8% to 89% (mean: 61%) of the respondents were aware of the role of HPV infection in cervical cancer development. Significantly fewer of the respondents, i.e. 0 to 73% (mean: 14%) knew about the link between nicotine and cervical cancer development. Cigarette smoking was not perceived as a contributing factor by elderly women and pregnant women living in rural areas. All respondents, irrespective of their place of residence, age and education had been rarely educated by health care professionals (mean: 32%). The most common source of knowledge was the Internet accessed by 20% to 98% of the respondents (mean: 81%).

Conclusion: Knowledge regarding the effects of cigarette smoking and HPV infection significantly differed and depended on the age, education and residence (rural vs. urban areas). The Internet as the source of information was especially important in the youngest age group (schoolgirls) who were the only of the study populations not educated by health care professionals.