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Participants, Physicians or Programmes: Participants’ educational level and initiative in cancer screening

Barbara Willems and Piet Bracke

Health Policy, 2018, vol. 122, issue 4, 422-430

Abstract: This study is an in-depth examination of at whose initiative (participant, physician or screening programme) individuals participate in cervical, breast and colorectal cancer screening across the EU-28. Special attention is paid to (1) the association with educational attainment and (2) the country’s cancer screening strategy (organised, pilot/regional or opportunistic) for each type of cancer screened. Data were obtained from Eurobarometer 66.2 ‘Health in the European Union’ (2006). Final samples consisted of 10,186; 5443 and 9851 individuals for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer, respectively. Multinomial logistic regressions were performed. Surprisingly, even in countries with organised screening programmes, participation in screenings for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer was most likely to be initiated by the general practitioner (GP) or the participant. In general, GPs were found to play a crucial role in making referrals to screenings, regardless of the country’s screening strategy. The results also revealed differences between educational groups with regard to their incentive to participate in cervical and breast cancer screening and, to a lesser extent, in colorectal cancer screening. People with high education are more likely to participate in cancer screening at their own initiative, while people with less education are more likely to participate at the initiative of a physician or a screening programme. Albeit, the results varied according to type of cancer screening and national screening strategy.

Keywords: Cancer screening participation; Cancer screening initiative; Educational inequalities; Organised screening programmes; Opportunistic screening; EU-28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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