Factors contributing to the low participation rate of Turkish women to a breast cancer screening program in Antwerp, Belgium
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
European journal of gynaecological oncology. - Padua
, p. 520-523
University of Antwerp
Objectives: To explore possible factors explaining a low participation rate to breast cancer screening for Turkish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, and to develop ways to increase participation rate. Material and Methods: The authors used focus group discussions with Turkish women to explore their reasons to participate or not to participate in breast cancer screening. Groups consisted of four to six women. Inclusion criteria were: being female, having a Turkish origin, and age between 50 and 69 years. For each focus group, one Turkish women was invited and asked to invite five other women meeting the inclusion criteria. Results: Three focus group discussions with in total 17 women have taken place. Six women had participated to all consecutive invitations for breast cancer screening. One woman had participated once, but not the next time she was invited. Ten women had never participated to screening mammography, although some of them had undergone diagnostic mammography. In all three focus groups, insufficient knowledge of the Dutch language, the unavailability of a professional interpreter, being careless about healthcare, and a negative influence of the husband, were the main reasons not to participate in breast cancer screening. Invitation letters are not read because they are in a language the woman does not understand. Less frequently mentioned obstacles were being on a holiday or being sick on the day of the scheduled mammography, fear of pain, considering an examination useless when not having any symptoms, being anxious for a positive result, and the physical distance to the screening center. Receiving an invitation in Turkish and knowing that a person speaking Turkish will be available at the screening center were proposed as possible measures to improve participation. Conclusion: The single most important reason why Turkish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, do not participate in breast cancer screening was a language problem; other reasons were a lack of knowledge concerning breast cancer screening and not worrying about breast cancer. The language barrier in this population of older women can possible be overcome by Turkish speaking personnel at the screening centers.