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Questions About Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening Knowledge, Practice, and Outcomes: A Review of Demographic and Health Surveys
Authors: Laura Viens, Doug Perin, Virginia Senkomago, Antonio Neri, and Mona Saraiya
Source: Journal of Women’s Health, 26(5):403-412. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6441
Topic(s): Women's health
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: MAY 2017
Abstract: United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organization’s Global Monitoring Framework support a strong global commitment to reducing the high burden of cervical and breast cancers among low- and middle-income countries. Strategies include vaccination, screening, and early diagnosis. Population-based surveys, such as those conducted by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program, can collect the information needed to guide cancer control efforts in a standardized comparable manner. We identified and evaluated the breadth of breast and cervical cancer screening information that was collected by the DHS from 1984 through 2015. Then, we determined if these surveys currently provide the specific and measurable data about both the quantity and quality of cancer screening needed to guide national efforts to reduce the overall effects of cervical and breast cancers. We searched the DHS website to identify surveys conducted between the start of the DHS Program in 1984 and November 2015 that included questions about breast and cervical cancer screening. The relevant questions were extracted from the questionnaire, translated into English, and grouped by themes. Of the 90 countries where DHS surveys have been implemented, cervical cancer screening questions were included in 22 countries (24.4%) and breast cancer screening questions in 18 countries (20.0%). The common themes identified were disease knowledge, screening knowledge, screening practice, and screening outcomes. Most countries with survey questionnaires available for review addressed at least one aspect of screening practice (88.9% of cervical and 87.5% of breast), although few countries queried knowledge and outcomes. Questions that assess varied aspects of breast and cervical cancer screening have been incorporated into relatively few DHS surveys. The themes identified could guide the design of a standard set of questions for use in future population-based surveys and enable evaluation beyond the existence of screening, which would include assessment of the quality and impact of cervical and breast cancer screening. Keywords: breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, population-based surveys