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A Qualitative Assessment of the Social Cultural Factors That Influence Cervical Cancer Screening Behaviors and the Health Communication Preferences of Women in Kumasi, Ghana


Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in Ghana. Despite the availability of cervical cancer screening in healthcare facilities throughout the country, less than 4 % of Ghanaian women seek preventive cervical cancer screenings regularly. There is a lack of culturally relevant cervical cancer education material available in Ghana. The aims of this study were to assess the social cultural factors that influence cervical cancer screening behaviors and the health communication preferences of Ghanaian women. A focus group guide based on the constructs of the PEN-3 model was used to conduct six focus groups that were stratified by educational attainment. Thirty-four women participated in the study. The qualitative data revealed that most participants were not aware of cervical cancer or cervical cancer screening. However, many of the participants were willing to seek screening if they knew more about it. The most common sources of health information were television, radio, friends, and family. And the participants preferred inspirational cervical-cancer-screening messages that would be delivered by a doctor and a cancer survivor.

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This project was supported by a Fulbright Program grant sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education. This project was supported in part by grant number R25 CA47888, Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program grant, funded by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

Special thanks goes to Aaron White, the US Fulbright Program, Dr. Patrick Amoateng, George Kuffour, Rose Adjei, Alex, the USC Office of Fellowships and Scholars Programs, and Dr. Collins Airhihenbuwa for understanding why culture matters in health education.

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Correspondence to Michelle S. Williams.

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Williams, M.S. A Qualitative Assessment of the Social Cultural Factors That Influence Cervical Cancer Screening Behaviors and the Health Communication Preferences of Women in Kumasi, Ghana. J Canc Educ 29, 555–562 (2014).

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  • Cervical cancer
  • Ghana
  • Pap smear
  • Health communication
  • Culture