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The importance of socio-economic variables in cancer screening participation: A comparison between population-based and opportunistic screening in the EU-15


  • Walsh, Brendan
  • Silles, Mary
  • O'Neill, Ciarán


Objectives To investigate differences in participation with breast and cervical cancer screening related to individual socio-economic characteristics, across population-based versus opportunistic screening programmes.Methods Data from Eurobarometer 66.2 "Health in the European Union" 2006 on self-reported breast and cervical cancer screening participation in the preceding 12 months within the EU 15 was obtained The sample was restricted to those eligible for screening based on the screening age within each country. Observations for 2214 and 5025 individuals respectively for breast and cervical cancer screening were available. Data on marital status, self-reported health, socio-economic group and years of education were also available. Screening programmes were categorised as population-based or opportunistic and logistic regression analysis used to examine the relationship between participation, individual characteristics and programme type.Results Differences in participation related to socio-economic status were observed in opportunistic screening programmes for breast cancer (ORÂ =Â 0.63* and ORÂ =Â 0.51**) and cervical cancer (ORÂ =Â 0.75** and ORÂ =Â 0.64**). Differences related to socio-economic characteristics were not found with respect to participation in population-based programmes.Conclusions In opportunistic programmes, differences in participation across socio-economic groups are evident in respect of both breast and cervical cancer screening. These differences may have implications for treatment and outcomes across socio-economic groups. Such differences were not evident in population-based programmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Walsh, Brendan & Silles, Mary & O'Neill, Ciarán, 2011. "The importance of socio-economic variables in cancer screening participation: A comparison between population-based and opportunistic screening in the EU-15," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 269-276, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:269-276

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    Cited by:

    1. Willems, Barbara & Bracke, Piet, 2018. "Participants, Physicians or Programmes: Participants’ educational level and initiative in cancer screening," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 122(4), pages 422-430.
    2. Missinne, Sarah & Bracke, Piet, 2015. "A cross-national comparative study on the influence of individual life course factors on mammography screening," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(6), pages 709-719.
    3. Carney, Patricia & O'Neill, Stephen & O'Neill, Ciaran, 2013. "Determinants of breast cancer screening uptake in women, evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 108-114.
    4. Folkert Groot & Stefano Capri & Jean-Claude Castanier & David Cunningham & Bruno Flamion & Mathias Flume & Harald Herholz & Lars-Åke Levin & Oriol Solà-Morales & Christoph J. Rupprecht & Natalie Shale, 2017. "Ethical Hurdles in the Prioritization of Oncology Care," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 119-126, April.
    5. Burns, Richeal & Walsh, Brendan & O’Neill, Stephen & O’Neill, Ciaran, 2012. "An examination of variations in the uptake of prostate cancer screening within and between the countries of the EU-27," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 268-276.
    6. Bussière, Clémence & Le Vaillant, Marc & Pelletier-Fleury, Nathalie, 2015. "Screening for cervical cancer: What are the determinants among adults with disabilities living in institutions? Findings from a National Survey in France," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(6), pages 794-801.
    7. Barbara Willems & Piet Bracke, 2018. "The education gradient in cancer screening participation: a consistent phenomenon across Europe?," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 63(1), pages 93-103, January.
    8. Gallo, Federica & Caprioglio, Adele & Castagno, Roberta & Ronco, Guglielmo & Segnan, Nereo & Giordano, Livia, 2017. "Inequalities in cervical cancer screening utilisation and results: A comparison between Italian natives and immigrants from disadvantaged countries," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(10), pages 1072-1078.
    9. Priaulx, Jennifer & de Koning, Harry J. & de Kok, Inge M.C.M. & Széles, György & McKee, Martin, 2018. "Identifying the barriers to effective breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening in thirty one European countries using the Barriers to Effective Screening Tool (BEST)," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 122(11), pages 1190-1197.


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