Assessing Women’s Perceptions of Their HPV and Cervical Cancer Knowledge




Matthes, Sarah
O'Neal, Morgan
Thompson, Erika


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Purpose: This project aimed to assess women’s HPV and cervical cancer knowledge and women’s perceptions of their knowledge. With recent changes to cervical cancer screening guidelines in the US, it is an opportune time to assess women’s knowledge of cervical cancer and its primary cause, human papillomavirus (HPV). Women’s knowledge of HPV and cervical cancer may be beneficial for reducing anxiety and uncertainty with cervical cancer screening. Moreover, there is a need to examine if women’s perceptions of their knowledge align with knowledge levels, which may present opportunity for health education. Methods: An online survey (n=812) of women 30-65 years old without hysterectomy was conducted in June 2018. Survey items assessed knowledge of HPV (16-items), cervical cancer (12-items) and perceived ease of understanding cervical cancer screening information (Likert scale). Knowledge scores were created from correct responses to true/false questions. Descriptive frequencies for items and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used in SAS 9.4. Results: Most women (70%) perceived understanding cervical cancer screening information as easy or very easy. The mean HPV knowledge score was 8.10 (out of 16). The mean cervical cancer knowledge score was 6.88 (out of 12). Women’s perceptions of their understanding were significantly associated with HPV and cervical cancer screening knowledge (p Conclusion: Results indicate that women have an accurate perception of their cervical cancer screening knowledge. Additionally, the association between HPV and cervical cancer was noted by participants. Increasing knowledge of the high likelihood of HPV infection may increase screening willingness. Education that the clinical course of cervical cancer is slow and preventable may reduce testing anxiety. More public information on no and low cost screening resources may also help increase screening. These gaps represent patient and provider education opportunities that may assist in increasing adherence to cervical cancer screening recommendations.