Factors associated with late diagnosis of cervical cancer at two national referral hospitals, Kenya 2017: A case control study

Valerian Mwenda, Martin Mwangi, Gladwell Gathecha, Joseph Kibachio, Robert Too, Zeinab Gura, Marleen Temmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality among women in Kenya. Two thirds of cervical cancer cases in Kenya are diagnosed in advanced stages. We aimed to identify factors associated with late diagnosis of cervical cancer, to guide policy interventions. Methods: An unmatched case control study (ratio 1:2) was conducted among women aged ≥ 18 years with cervical cancer at Kenyatta National and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospitals. We defined a case as patients with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage ≥ 2A and controls as those with stage ≤ 1B. A structured questionnaire was used to document exposure variables. We calculated adjusted odds ratio (aOR) to identify any associations. Results: We enrolled 192 participants (64 cases, 128 controls). Mean age 39.2 (±9.3) years, 145 (76 %) were married, 77 (40 %) had primary level education, 168 (88 %) had their first pregnancy ≤ 24 years of age, 85 (44 %) were > para 3 and 150 (78 %) used contraceptives. Late diagnosis of cervical cancer was associated with cost of travel to cancer centres > USD 6.1 (aOR 6.43 95% CI [1.30, 31.72]), age > 50 years (aOR 4.71; 95% CI [1.18, 18.80]), anxiety over cost of cancer care (aOR 5.6; 95% CI [1.05, 32.72]) and ultrasound examination during evaluation of symptoms (aOR 4.89; 95% CI [1.07–22.42]). Previous treatment for gynecological infections (aOR 0.10; 95% CI [0.02, 0.47]) was protective against late diagnosis. Conclusion: Cost of seeking care and the quality of the diagnostic process were important factors in this study. Decentralization of care, innovative health financing solutions and clear diagnostic and referral algorithms for women presenting with gynecological symptoms could reduce late-stage diagnosis in Kenya.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101355
JournalGynecologic Oncology Reports
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Case control study
  • Cervical cancer
  • Factors
  • Kenya
  • Late diagnosis


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