Cervical cancer screening is not routinely done in Cameroon because of poor knowledge of the disease. This study evaluated the validity of VIA test, assessed women’s knowledge on cervical cancer and assessed the relationship between knowledge score and previous screening participation. Between June and September 2018, this cross-sectional study enrolled 256 women aged between 25 and 65 years at the Douala General Hospital. After filling in a structured questionnaire, consented respondents were screened for cervical cancer using the Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) and the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear. Descriptive statistics were carried out using SPSS v 20. Of the 256 respondents, 30 [11.7%, 95% CI: 8.2 - 16.0] and 34 [13.3%, 95% CI: 9.3 - 17.5] were positive for Pap smear and VIA test, respectively. VIA test had the sensitivity of 80.0% and the specificity of 95.6%. About 251 [98.0%, 95% CI: 96.1 - 99.6] respondents were aware of cervical cancer; 236 [92.2%, 95% CI: 88.7 - 95.3] other had poor knowledge of the disease but 95 [37.1%, 95% CI: 31 - 43] declared previous screening participation. Respondents with satisfactory knowledge score were more likely to have had previous screening participation [OR= 2.89: 95%CI: 1.08-7.70, p= 0.029] than those with poor score. High prevalence of cervical cancer and low previous screening participation were attributed to poor knowledge of the disease, thus necessitating a planned health education.
Key words: Cervical cancer, Pap smear, VIA test, sensitivity, specificity, knowledge.
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