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Indian J Cancer. 2018 Oct-Dec;55(4):318-326. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_253_18.

Barriers affecting uptake of cervical cancer screening in low and middle income countries: A systematic review.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, Indian Council of Medical Research, I-7, Sector-39, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.



Cervical cancer is the second-most common cancer among women in the developing world and approximately 500,000 cases are diagnosed each year. In developed countries, cervical cancer (CCa) accounts for only 3.6% of newly diagnosed cancers.


The present study aims to identify the most effective barriers associated with CCa screening uptake in low and middle-income countries (L and MICs) and aid to adopt effective measures to overcome prevailing barriers to the attainment of CCa uptake in the community.


Health sciences electronic databases like MEDLINE, PubMed, Cochrane library, and Google Scholar were searched for studies published until August 2017. Keywords used for the search were ("cervical cancer screening"), ("barriers"), AND ("low income countries" OR "Middle income countries"). Articles were reviewed and data were extracted by using Mendeley Desktop Software (V-1.17.10). Income-level classification of countries was done as per the World Bank 2017 report. Statistical software like SPSS-V.23 and Medical-V.14 were used for the statistical application.


A total of 31 studies met the inclusion criteria with a total of 25,650 participants. The sample size of the included studies ranged from 97 to 5929 participants. Articles majorly reported data on participants from African region (51.6%) and minimally in the Western Pacific region (3.2%). Sampling methods among studies varied from convenience sampling-12 (39.7%) to consecutive sampling-1 (3.2%). Besides, two studies (6.5%) did not discuss their sampling procedures. It was observed that "Lack of information about CCa and its treatment" (Barrier of lack of knowledge and Awareness); "Embracement or shy" (Psychological Barrier); "Lack of time" (structural Barrier); and "Lack of family support" (Sociocultural and religious barrier) were the most commonly reported among all 22 barriers.


There is a need of policies advancement of CCa screening programs by focusing on aspects of accessibility, affordability, CCa education, and the necessity of screening to improve screening uptake to control the CCa morbidity and mortality rate in L and MIC's.


Barriers; Cervical cancer; diagnosis; low income countries; middle income countries; screening uptake

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