Table 2

Comparison of key findings on knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of participants

Christian womenMuslim women
North Central (Abuja FGD)South Western (Ondo FGD)North Central (Abuja FGD)South Western (Ondo FGD)
Awareness of cervical cancerAll of the women in this group had heard about cervical cancerMost of the women in this group had heard about cervical cancerMost of the participants in the Abuja Muslim women FGD had heard about cervical cancerNone of the women in this group had ever heard of cervical cancer
Causes of cervical cancerPoor knowledge of the cause of cervical cancer; one of the participants in this group had the misconception that cervical cancer could result from wizardryPoor knowledge of the cause of cervical cancer.
Participants in this group expressed beliefs about the use of charms and cervical cancer being inflicted on women by men
Displayed poor knowledge of the cause of cervical cancer. Less belief in the use of charms than the Christian womenDisplayed poor knowledge of the cause of cervical cancer
Symptoms of cervical cancerPoor knowledge of the symptoms of cervical cancerPoor knowledge of the symptoms of cervical cancerPoor knowledge of the symptoms of cervical cancerNo previous knowledge of the symptoms of cervical cancer
Awareness of human papillomavirusOnly one participant in this group had ever heard of the human papillomavirusNo previous knowledge of the human papillomavirusNo knowledge of the human papillomavirusNo previous knowledge of the human papillomavirus
Treatment options for cervical cancerChristian FGD participants in Abuja did not think that there was any effective traditional treatment for cervical cancer. They were of the opinion that it could be treated if diagnosed early by screening (see and treat), chemotherapy, surgery and ‘spirituality’In the Christian women FGD in Ondo, participants noted that cervical cancer could be treated if diagnosed early. They did not believe that traditional medicine could be used to treat cervical cancerMost Muslim FGD participants in Abuja believed that cervical cancer can be treated and few participants claimed awareness of traditional treatment modalities for itParticipants in the Ondo Muslim women FGD had poor knowledge of treatment options for cervical cancer
Cervical cancer screeningParticipants in this group were more aware of cervical cancer screening and more willing to engage with the healthcare system. More than half of the participants in this group had been screened. Participants were not particular about being screened by a female or male healthcare providerParticipants in this group had heard about cervical cancer screening and were more likely to accept screening. Participants were also indifferent to being screened by either a male or female healthcare providerParticipants among the Abuja Muslim women had heard about cervical cancer screening, though none had been screened. Reasons for reluctance to be screened included the need for spousal support and permission before screening, need for a female doctor or female chaperone to be present during screening procedureNone of the participants in this group was aware of cervical cancer screening
Attitudes and beliefs
Perception of personal riskMost expressed the belief that cervical cancer is becoming a significant problem in Nigeria and that anyone could be at risk of cervical cancerMost of the women in this group believed that cervical cancer is becoming more common in Nigeria and they could be at risk of cervical cancerMost of the Abuja Muslim women believed that cervical cancer is becoming a significant problem in Nigeria. They expressed belief that they could be at risk of cervical cancerNone of the participants in this group previously believed that cervical cancer is becoming a significant problem or that they could get cervical cancer
Barriers to cervical cancer screeningNo barriers to cervical cancer screening were reported in this group. While some opined that they would prefer a female provider, many were happy to be screened by a male provider if a female chaperone was presentParticipants in this group identified lack of awareness as a major barrier to cervical cancer screeningThe Abuja Muslim women highlighted the need for husband's permission, modesty concerns, lack of awareness, cultural discrimination and discomfort as barriers to cervical cancer screeningParticipants in this group identified a strong preference for a female healthcare provider before they would accept being screened
Acceptability of self- samplingExpressed preference for sample collection in the hospital by a healthcare provider rather than self-samplingExpressed preference for sample collection in the hospital by a healthcare providerExpressed preference for sampling by a female healthcare provider rather than self-samplingExpressed preference for sampling by a female healthcare provider rather than self-sampling. One participant in this group was of the opinion that healthcare providers are more capable of taking the samples correctly
  • FGD, focus group discussion.