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Awareness and uptake of colorectal, breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening tests in Spain

26 Mar 2014

Background: We aim to describe levels of awareness and uptake of colorectal, breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening tests and to analyze the association to socio-demographic and health-related variables. Methods: Population-based cross-sectional study conducted using a home-based personal interview survey on a nationwide representative sample (n = 7938) of population aged ≥18 years (Oncobarometro Survey). Awareness was assessed by asking participants: Now I am going to mention several medical tests for cancer detection, please tell me if you already know about them or if this is the first time you have heard of them? The tests mentioned were faecal occult blood test (FOBT), mammography, Pap smear and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Cancer screening uptake was assessed by asking participants whether they had received tests within the previous 2 years. Results: Awareness rates of 38.55% for FOBT, 95.03% for mammography, 70.84% for Pap smears and 54.72% for PSA were found. Uptake mammography was 74.46%, Pap smears 65.57%, PSA 35.19% and FOBT 9.40%. Factors such as immigration status, lower educational level or income and not suffering from chronic conditions are negative predictors for uptake. Conclusions: Awareness and uptake results showed acceptable figures for mammography, moderate for Pap smears and unacceptably low for FOBT. Inequalities exist in uptake of cancer screening. It is necessary to develop public health educational programmes, especially for the vulnerable populations, aiming to inform and motivate them to use screening services on a regular basis. Our data suggest that although PSA is not recommended, this opportunistic screening is frequently used in Spain.

26 March 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in European Journal of Public Health