Concurrent participation in screening for cervical, breast, and bowel cancer in England
Duffy, Stephen W
Objectives: To determine how many women participate in all three recommended cancer screening programmes (breast, cervical, and bowel). During their early 60s, English women receive an invitation from all the three programmes. Methods: For 3060 women aged 60–65 included in an England-wide breast screening case–control study, we investigated the number of screening programmes they participated in during the last invitation round. Additionally, using the Fingertips database curated by Public Health England, we explored area-level correlations between participation in the three cancer screening programmes and various population characteristics for all 7014 English general practices with complete data. Results: Of the 3060 women, 1086 (35%) participated in all three programmes, 1142 (37%) in two, 526 (17%) in one, and 306 (10%) in none. Participation in all three did not appear to be a random event (p < 0.001). General practices from areas with less deprivation, with more patients who are carers or have chronic illnesses themselves, and with more patients satisfied with the provided service were significantly more likely to attain high coverage rates in all programmes. Conclusions: Only a minority of English women is concurrently protected through all recommended cancer screening programmes. Future studies should consider why most women participate in some but not all recommended screening.