Awareness of reproductive cancers among students in Durban, South Africa.
Mambondiani, Liberty T.
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Cancer is emerging as a major public health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is the leading cause of death in economically developed countries and the second leading cause of death in developing countries. In females, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer and in males, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. However, studies on other cancers that affect the reproductive organs are limited. This study therefore investigates the awareness of reproductive cancers and screening related services among young people. Using a qualitative approach, which is a way of obtaining descriptions of the life world of the subject with respect to interpretation of their meaning, the study investigates the perceived severity of reproductive cancer, perceived barriers and benefits to routine screening for early diagnosis through in-depth interviews. Furthermore, the study aims for the depth of understanding of the awareness of reproductive cancers among young people. The findings of this study suggest that there is very low awareness of reproductive cancers among young people. This study reveals that students were more aware of cervical and prostate cancer than other reproductive cancers. Furthermore, the study found that there was very low awareness of HPV and knowledge and awareness of screening services were lacking greatly. An important finding of the study was that students did not know that there is a link between engaging in risky sexual behaviors and spreading of HPV and development of reproductive cancers. It was then recommended that intensive programmes informing and educating young people about their sexual and reproductive health are needed. The department of health together with other government departments as well as organizations dealing with cancer should work together in increasing awareness programmes.