APH 2006, 64, 93-108:

The influence of district level characteristics on the participation rate of breast cancer screening in the city of Antwerp, Belgium.

E. Dierckx, A. Michiels, P. Rotthier, JJ Weyler, GF Van Hal

Keywords: social gradient, breast cancer screening, Belgium, participation rate, socio-economic status

Objectives: To analyse whether or not there is a relationship between participating in the breast cancer screening programme in the
city of Antwerp (Flanders, Belgium) and the socio-economic status of the neighbourhood the women reside in.

Methods: Social and demographic characteristics that might explain the variance in the participation rate at the district level were listed and a multiple linear regression analysis was performed.

Results: In general, 13,415 women (37.8%) took part in the screening programme in Antwerp. The difference in participation rate of women living in privileged and underprivileged areas is 9.3%. Statistical sectors with a high percentage of people above 65 years and couples with children tend to have a higher attendance, whereas the percentage of foreigners has a negative influence. The linear regression model including these three independent variables, explains 30% of the variance in attendance.

Conclusions: There is a need to discover the specific causes of the lower participation rate in the underprivileged areas and how one can cope with this problem. Further research is also needed on the assessment of the socio-economic status.