Intended for healthcare professionals


Understanding inequalities in breast cancer screening uptake

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 21 September 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p2084

Linked clinical review

Advances in the care of breast cancer survivors

Linked research

Effect of invitation letter in language of origin on screening attendance

  1. Elizabeth A Davies, clinical reader in cancer and public health,
  2. Yueh-Hsin Wang, PhD student
  1. Cancer Epidemiology and Cancer Services Research, Centre for Cancer, Society and Public Health, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, King’s College London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: E A Davies Elizabeth.Davies{at}

Language isn’t the only barrier for women from immigrant communities

Attendance for breast cancer screening tends to be considerably higher among women born in high income countries with established screening programmes than in women who migrate to and settle in these countries later in their lives. Norway’s breast screening programme began in 1996 and has one of the highest overall 10 year attendance rates in the world of 85%, yet the attendance rate for women who have migrated to Norway is only 67%.1

Previous studies have suggested that language is a common barrier that women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds face in accessing cancer screening.2 So, in a linked paper (doi:10.1136/bmj-2023-075465), Hofvind and colleagues report the first large scale, randomised controlled trial to investigate the effect of inviting women for breast screening by using letters translated into their language of origin and checked for sense by women from the same cultural group.3 The authors …

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