Immigrant women get mammograms at lower rates than non-immigrant women, a BC Cancer study suggests. (Brandice J. O’Brien photo)

Immigrant women less likely to get breast cancer screening: B.C. study

BC Cancer researcher says access to a primary care physician can help

Immigrant women in B.C. get screened for breast cancer at much lower rates than the general population, a new study suggests.

The study, led by BC Cancer and released earlier this month, was conducted by linking federal immigration information with provincial health data for more than 530,000 women, and suggests immigrant women from all countries studied except for Iran, the U.K. and the U.S. went for mammograms less than non-immigrant women.

“The former U.S.S.R. [countries] had a very low participation rate. Eastern Europe was one of the lower world regions as a whole,” said Ryan Woods, lead author of the study and scientific director for the provincial cancer registry at BC Cancer.

“All of them were screening down into the 30-per-cent participation rates, quite a bit lower in the 51 per cent among non-immigrants.”

Woods said the study also identified Indian women as having screening rates of six per cent below that of non-immigrants.

Although the researchers did not speak with women to find out why they weren’t going for health screenings, Woods said one factor seemed to be whether they had gone to a primary care physician in the months and years leading up to the study. A primary care provider could be anything from a family doctor to a walk-in clinic.

“The women in more frequent contact with a primary care provider have better screenings rates,” he said. “That was the single greatest variable.”

Woods pointed to woman from China and South Korea, who, when they did not visit a doctor, had screening rates of just five or six per cent.

However, women who had visited a doctor at least 10 times in the years leading up to the study had screening rates of 60-65 per cent.

The researchers are planning followup studies to see what kind of health care access is most effective, including the team-based care proposed by the province.

Teaching women that getting mammograms even when they feel healthy is important is key, and the effect is lasting, Woods said.

Immigrant women who got screened once were as likely as non-immigrant women to come back for another mammogram.

“Re-screening is in the 70 per cent rage all around,” said Woods. “Once they’re in the program you at least have them in the system, and you can try to keep them getting screened.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

DriveBC reminding travellers the area is an active wildfire zone and warning of fallen debris.

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeals court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

Firesmart program has homeowners ‘thinking like an ember’

RDCK offering free home assessments to protect homes from wildfires

Fire hall project questions

Questions for the ASC and the Town of Creston

Lost Dog fire 90 per cent contained

BC Wildfire Service is reporting this morning that the Lost Dog complex… Continue reading

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

East Kootenay fire victim honoured

Bradley Patrick Tipper remembered as gentle-hearted and generous

Lightning blamed for most recent regional fires

Southeast Fire Centre says 90 per cent of the 342 fires recently reported are lightning-caused

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Most Read