Socioeconomic and Immigration Status Linked to Missed Cancer Screenings for Women

A study from a team in Ontario, Canada, found that more than 15% of screen-eligible women were overdue for all types of cancer screening, including breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers.

Early detection for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers is possible through timely screening. Despite efforts to organize screening programs, participation among marginalized populations remains low. In this study, investigators aimed to understand predictors of underscreening for these three cancer types.

The researchers utilized administrative data sets to identify over 1.2 million women who were screen-eligible for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers between 2014 and 2017. They measured how many participants were up to date on zero, one, two, or all three screening types. The primary endpoints were individual and structural predictors of missed screening within the cohort overdue for all three types.

Overall, 15% of women were overdue for all types of cancer screening. The researchers identified several predictors of missed screening. Factors such as living in lowest income neighborhoods (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45-0.47); recently immigrating (AOR 0.54, 95% CI, 0.53-0.55); having no primary care provider (AOR 0.17, 95% CI, 0.16-0.17); and having no contact with health services (AOR 0.09, 95% CI, 0.09-0.09) significantly increased the likelihood of being overdue for all three screening types, compared with women who were not overdue.

“Considering that more than 15% of screen-eligible women in Ontario were overdue for all types of cancer screening, it is imperative to address structural barriers such as lack of a primary care provider,” wrote the authors. “Innovative interventions like ‘one-stop shopping’ where screening for different cancers can be offered at the same time could promote screening uptake.”

This study was published in Cancer Causes & Control.