Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
DUAVY, Lucélia Maria; BATISTA, Fátima Lucia Ramos; JORGE, Maria Salete Bessa and SANTOS, João Bosco Feitosa dos. Women's perceptions of preventive examinations for cervical-uterine cancer: a case study. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2007, vol.12, n.3, pp. 733-742. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232007000300024.
Cervical-uterine cancer is among the most feared chronic degenerative diseases, due its high mortality and morbidity rates. This study describes women's feelings before a preventive examination for cervical-uterine cancer, through a case study based on observations and semi-structured interviews as data collection techniques. A total of 24 women were interviewed, between eighteen and sixty years old, who attended the cancer prevention unit at a basic healthcare clinic in Fortaleza, Ceará State between April and August 2004. This study shows that women generally request these preventive examinations only when symptoms appear. They view this procedure with apprehension and fear, due to the possibility of a positive diagnosis of cervical-uterine cancer; they feel embarrassed at exposing their bodies for examination, particularly by male physicians; and they are poorly informed about their own bodies and even their own sexuality. These findings highlight the need for healthcare practitioners to conduct educational activities for women, in order to enhance professional relationships between healthcare providers and users, helping lower the rate of this type of cancer through more frequent preventive examinations.
Keywords : Perception; Preventive examination; Cervical-uterine cancer; Case study.