Pattern and predictors of cervical epithelial cell abnormalities among unscreened and under-screened women in Lagos, Nigeria: a cross-sectional study

6 Feb 2023
Adeyemi Adebola Okunowo, Aloy Okechukwu Ugwu, Azeezat Oluwafunmilayo Ajose, Jubril Oladapo Kuku, Bolanle Olajumoke Okunowo, Nneoma Kwemtochukwu Ani-Ugwu, Benedetto Oluwaseun Osunwusi, Muisi Alli Adenekan, Adaiah Priscillia Soibi-Harry, Sunusi Rimi Garba

Women who had never undergone cervical screening (CS) or who have infrequent CS are at increased risk of having cervical epithelial cell abnormalities (CECA) that may lead to cervical cancer (CCa). Our study determined the pattern and factors that predict the occurrence of CECA among unscreened and under-screened women in Lagos, Nigeria. This was an analytical cross-sectional study among 256 consenting sexually active women between 21 and 65 years who attended a community CS programme in Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, in June 2019. Information on socio-demographic, reproductive, sexual, behavioural and clinical characteristics were collected and a Pap smear test was done. Women with abnormal cervical cytology were followed up and given appropriate treatment. Data analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 23. Descriptive statistics were computed using frequencies and association was tested using odd ratio. The participants’ mean age was 42.7 ± 10.3 years, majority were married (79.9%) and were human immune deficiency syndrome (HIV) negative (63.1%). The prevalence of CECA was 9.8%. Atypical squamous cell of undetermined significance and atypical squamous cell cannot exclude high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion were the most common CECA with prevalence rates of 7.4% and 2.0%, respectively. Having a partner with multiple sexual partners (adjusted odd ratio (AOR) = 19.23), being HIV positive (AOR = 25.61), giving birth for the first time before the age of 26 years (AOR = 5.55) and presence of a combination of either abnormal vaginal discharge, contact bleeding or an unhealthy cervix on clinical examination (AOR = 13.65) independently predicted the occurrence of CECA. There is a need to prioritise CS for women with these risk factors to prevent CCa and reduce the burden of the disease in our environment.

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