Health  Vol.4 No.11 , November 2012
Factors that contribute to delay in seeking cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment among women in Malawi
Cervical cancer is a curable disease if diagnosed early. However, many women in Malawi seek treatment when the disease has reached inoperable stage. This study was conducted to explore factors that contribute to delay in seeking early diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer among women in Malawi. The study was exploratory and utilized qualitative data collection and analysis method. In-depth interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide on a purposive sample of 24 women who were diagnosed of cervical cancer at the gynaecological wards of Zomba and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospitals in Malawi between July and September, 2011. Thematic content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data. Two major themes (individual and health facility) emerged from the participants’ narratives as factors that contributed to their delay in seeking early diagnosis and treatment. The individual factors included; limited knowledge on symptoms and signs and limited financial resources. The health facilities factors included; limited accessibility and unavailability of cancer screening facilities in the health centres. Results show that there is a need to strengthen the screening of cervical cancer among women in the country. In addition, there is a need to create community awareness on the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer and the merits of seeking early diagnosis and treatment.

Cite this paper
Chadza, E. , Chirwa, E. , Maluwa, A. , Malata, A. , Kazembe, A. and Chimwaza, A. (2012) Factors that contribute to delay in seeking cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment among women in Malawi. Health, 4, 1015-1022. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.411155.
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