APH 2004, 62, 209 - 225 :

Is the Health promotion Campaign for the breast cancer screening programme in Flanders successful ?
A process evaluation.

G. Van Hal, S. Moens, M. Van Goethem, A. De Schepper, J. Weyler

Keywords: Belgium, Breast Cancer, Health Promotion, Mass Screening

Aim. To find out which health promotion media are successful in convincing women to participate in the Flemish breast cancer screening programme.

Methods. In June 2001, the Flemish government started a breast cancer screening programme complying with the European guidelines. Beginning 2002, two self-administered questionnaires were spread among 447 women who participated in this programme (one immediately before the screening examination, another directly after). Moreover, 900 women who did not participate in the programme, also received a questionnaire, this time by regular mail.

Results. The response rate of the questionnaire in the screening programme participants almost reached 100%. From the 900 postal questionnaires sent to the non-participants in the screening programme, 242 were returned (26.9%). Nearly all questioned participants and non-participants, said they knew the breast cancer screening programme of the Flemish government (95.7%, n=428 and 97.9%, n=237, respectively). The main channel by which they were informed about the
programme, is the personal invitation letter (75.8%, n=339 and 81.8%, n=198, respectively). The GP scores rather low as an information channel (22.6%, n=101 and 16.1%, n=39, respectively). More than half the responding screening programme participants would not have had a preventive mammography performed in the absence of the Flemish screening programme (53.5%, n=239). Eleven percent of the responding screening programme participants could be attracted by the mammography being free of charge (n=49). All responding participants declare that they are willing to have another mammography in the future, following the ongoing procedure of a personal invitation letter with a specific appointment to a specific screening unit.

Conclusions. The personal invitation letter seems to be the strongest medium to motivate Flemish women to participate in the screening. In this respect, the GP is much less mentioned. Target payment could be a possible measure from the government to stimulate the GP where motivating women to attend screening is concerned.