Purpose: Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in India. Our study assessed the level and impact of awareness programs in the adoption of safe practices in prevention and early detection.
Methods: This assessment was part of a Pink Chain Campaign, the mission of which is to fight cancer. During cancer awareness events from 2013 to 2015 at various women’s colleges in different parts in India, a pretest related to cervical cancer was followed by an awareness program. A post-test was conducted 6 months and 1 year later.
Results: A total of 872 of 985 teachers participated in the study, for a response rate of 88.5%. Mean age of the population was 42.4 years. There was a significant increase in the level of knowledge regarding cervical cancer at 6 months, which was sustained at 1 year. Regarding cervical cancer screening, knowledge and practice of the Papanicolaou (Pap) test as a screening test for cervical cancer among teachers were changed significantly at 6 months and 1 year. More than 75% of teachers were educated by physicians about the Pap test. At the time of the post-test, there was a significant change in alcohol and smoking habits. The main reasons for not undergoing a screening test were ignorance (50%), lethargic attitude (44.8%), and lack of time (34.6%).
Conclusion: The level of knowledge of cervical cancer was poor. A significant increase in the level of knowledge of cervical cancer among the population was found after this study. To inculcate safe lifestyle practices, awareness programs should be conducted more widely and frequently.