Inequalities in reported use of breast and cervical screening in Great Britain: analysis of cross sectional survey data

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the relation between women's reported use of breast and cervical screening and sociodemographic characteristics.

Design

Cross sectional multipurpose survey.

Setting

Private households, Great Britain.

Population

3185 women aged 40-74 interviewed in the National Statistics Omnibus Survey 2005-7.

Main outcome measures

Ever had a mammogram, ever had a cervical smear, and, for each, timing of most recent screen.

Results

91% (95% confidence interval 90% to 92%) of women aged 40-74 years reported ever having had a cervical smear, and 93% (92% to 94%) of those aged 53-74 years reported ever having had a mammogram; 3% (2% to 4%) of women aged 53-74 years had never had either breast or cervical screening. Women were significantly more likely to have had a mammogram if they lived in households with cars (compared with no car: one car, odds ratio 1.67, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 2.62; two or more cars, odds ratio 2.65, 1.34 to 5.26), and in owner occupied housing (compared with rented housing: own with mortgage, odds ratio 2.12, 1.12 to 4.00; own outright, odds ratio 2.19, 1.39 to 3.43), but no significant differences by ethnicity, education, occupation, or region were found. For cervical screening, ethnicity was the most important predictor; white British women were significantly more likely to have had a cervical smear than were women of other ethnicity (odds ratio 2.20, 1.41 to 3.42). Uptake of cervical screening was greater among more educated women but was not significantly associated with cars, housing tenure, or region.

Conclusions

Most (84%) eligible women report having had both breast and cervical screening, but 3% report never having had either. Some inequalities exist in the reported use of screening, which differ by screening type; indicators of wealth were important for breast screening and ethnicity for cervical screening. The routine collection within general practice of additional sociodemographic information would aid monitoring of inequalities in screening coverage and inform policies to correct them.

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