APH 2006, 64, 109-121:

How to reach a higher participation rate for breast cancer screening in Flanders ?

M. Wouters, F. Vleminckx, G. Van Hal

Keywords: none

Objectives: To know more about the reasons why women participate or do not participate in the official screening programme for breast cancer in Flanders. This might enable us to intervene in such a way that the participation rate could be raised.

Methods: A survey in women who participated and depth interviews in women who did not participate in the official screening programme in the province of Antwerp, Flanders.

Results: Where the participants is concerned, more than 40.0% of the questionnaires was filled out and sent back (n=807). The invitation letter is the way by which most participants get into contact with the screening programme (88.0%), followed by television (47.0%) and the general practitioner (24.0%). This actual situation is, however, not entirely congruent with the women’s preferences. Many more women want the GP to be the channel by which they get into contact with the screening programme. The interviewed non participants all had a diagnostic mammography performed. On the other hand, they have a very limited knowledge of the official screening programme. They do not know about the quality of a screening mammography. Moreover, the fact that their GP does not stimulate them to attend the screening, is a major barrier to have a screening mammography performed.

Conclusion: To achieve higher participation rates for the breast cancer screening programme in Flanders, the existing measures to lower the threshold for participation must be combined with more concrete and background information and a more active role of the GP.