Background In Mexico, there has been a National Cervical Cancer Screening Program (NCCSP) since 1974. Undergraduate medical and nursing students are the most important healthcare providers in rural areas.Objective To evaluate knowledge about the aetiology andpreventio n of cervical cancer among undergraduate medical and nursing students during their social service placements in Yucatan, Mexico.Method A questionnaire survey was carriedout which included all the medicine and nursing students who had completed their credits and were doing their social service in a rural community of Yucatan. A 10-item questionnaire, validated previously by other researchers, was usedfor the evaluation. Each correctly answereditem was given a point. The maximum grade was 10 and theminimum 0, andfor optimum analysis the results were classifiedinto three levels of knowledge: low, from0 to 4 points; medium, from5 to 7 points; and high, from 8 to 10 points.Results One hundred and twenty-six subjects were included; the knowledge mean was 7.5 points. The optimum time interval between Pap smear and the ideal age range for Pap smear were the questions with the most incorrect answers. However, 97% of the students recognised Pap smear as the main methodof screening to prevent cervical cancer.Conclusion The students know theoretical concepts about cervical cancer; however, it seems that they do not receive the specific elements about the practice, or, if they did, they are not being adequately assimilated.
Maria del Refugio Gonza?lez-Losa