Only a third of women in England eligible for breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening avail of all three programmes and one in 10 does not participate in any of the programmes, suggests a new study published in the Journal of Medical Screening.
In an England-wide breast screening case-control study, the study authors examined screening participation for 3060 women aged 60-65 years. Additionally, Public Health England’s Fingertips database was used to explore area-level correlations between participation in the three cancer screening programmes and population characteristics for all 7014 English general practices (GPs) with complete data.
Only 1086 (35%) participated in all three programmes. A total of 1142 (37%) participated in two of the three programmes and 526 (17%) availed of one programme. Ten per cent (n=306) did not participate in any of three programmes studied.
The authors report that participation in all three screening programmes did not appear to be a random event (P<.001 they found that gps from areas with less deprivation more patients who are carers or have chronic illnesses themselves satisfied the provided service significantly likely to attain high coverage rates in all programmes.>
Commenting on the findings, lead author Dr Matejka Rebolj from King's College London, said: “It is crucial for us to look at the take-up rates in certain areas and in certain practices and address women's preferences for future screening programmes. We need to understand and target specifically those women who obtain some screening, but decide not to take up all the life-saving screening that is offered to them by the NHS. It is important that policy makers now look at these findings to inform what can be done in the future to reduce the significant number of deaths in the over 60-year olds."