Kozeta Filipi1, Lila Shundi1, Alban Ylli1,2, Bajram Dedja1, Besjan Elezaj1
1 Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania;
2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Medicine, Tirana, Albania.
Aim: Cervical cancer is common among women worldwide. A multitude of risk factors aggravate the disease. This study was conducted to: (1) determine the prevalence and (2) make a comparative analysis of the socio-demographic and behavioral risk factors of cervical cancer, attitude and practice between rural and urban women of Albania.
Methodology: We evaluated women data that were screened, on the first year screening for cervical cancer in Albania. The data were collected from every woman by a form with all risk factors for cervical cancer and with the results of the Laboratory for High risk HPV.
Results: Total high risk HPV prevalence in this sample was 6.2%. HPV prevalence is significantly higher in urban populations of women (6.9%) compared to rural areas (4.7%), confirming the increasing of risk for infection with a potentially intensification of urbanization in the future in Albania. It is noted that there is a higher probability for women HPV positives to have higher education than HPV negative women. Women positive in high risk HPV screening test, have slight differences compared to other, HPV negative women, when a range of reproductive life indicators are analyzed. Conversely, average number of abortions is slightly higher among HPV positives, especially when the categories of women who had 2 and more aborts are compared. While partner’s circumcision is not associated to the risk of being infected with HPV, smoking seems to be a significant factor increasing the odds for it. There are more than 20% of HPV positive women who have reported to smoke, when the prevalence of smoking among HPV negatives was reported to be only 16%. HPV positive women were more inclined to use the pap-test services in the past with almost 24% of them falling in this category.
Conclusion: These factors may have driven their better utilization of a health service which is mostly opportunistic and associated with substantial out of pocket costs, especially logistic ones. Women of lower socio economic status and those in rural areas, while have been showing lower HPV infection prevalence, were more inclined to use the national systematic screening program, attracted by the lower barriers; easy access and insignificant cost.
Keywords: HPV,risk factors of cervical cancer, smoke.