Listen & Learn Ladies

Cervical cancer and HPV vaccine patient education on the radio

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) What’s the best way to get the word out about major health issues? For certain groups, a short story on the radio can reach and educate a lot of people easily and successfully.

A recent study tested the effectiveness of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine education through a short story radio broadcast directed at Hispanics.

The study found that those who listened to these stories knew more about the virus and the disease it causes.

"Talk to your doctor about HPV vaccines."

Deanna Kepka, MPH, researcher at the National Cancer Institute, led the investigation. Cervical cancer can be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccination for the prevention of most types of cervical cancer.

Hispanic women tend to contract cervical cancer 1.5 times more often than non-Hispanic white women in the US.

Researchers tested ways to get the word out to Hispanic parents about vaccinating their daughters.

For the small study, 88 parents with daughters aged 9-17 were split into two groups.

The first group listened to a five-minute Spanish-language radionovela, a short story broadcast on the radio.

The radionovela told the story of a young girl and her family learning about the HPV vaccine, talking to healthcare professionals and finally deciding have the girl vaccinated.

The second group listened to a public service announcement (PSA).

Parents were given an HPV knowledge test before and after listening to the broadcasts.

Post-listening tests showed that people who listened to the HPV radionovela learned more about HPV than the PSA group:

  • Is HPV a common infection? The answer is yes: 70 percent of HPV group answered correctly vs. 48 percent of the PSA group.
  • Women are able to tell whether or not they have an HPV infection on their own. Yes or No? The answer is no: 53 percent of the HPV group were correct vs. 31 percent of the PSA group.
  • What is the recommended age range to receive the HPV vaccine? The answer is 10-26: 87 percent of the HPV group answered correctly vs. 68 percent of the PSA group.
  • Are multiple doses necessary for the HPV vaccine? The answer is yes -3 shots over 6 months for either vaccine: 48 percent of the HPV group answered correctly vs. 26 percent of the PSA group.

Study authors concluded, “The HPV vaccine radionovela improved HPV and HPV vaccine knowledge and attitudes. Radionovela health education may be an efficacious strategy to increase HPV vaccine awareness among Hispanic parents.”

There are two licensed HPV vaccines in the US. Cervarix is recommended for young women age 10-25, and Gardasil is recommended for females age 11-26.

Radionovela education was part of a targeted program to reach high-risk groups like Hispanic women at risk for HPV and cervical cancer.

This study was published in December 2011 in the Journal of Community Health.

Funding for this study was provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. No conflicts of interest were found.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 11, 2012
Last Updated:
May 6, 2013