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

Langley trampoline gymnast off to Peru for world qualifiers

The gymnastics club is holding an open house this Saturday, Aug. 18, with free drop-in sessions.

VIDEO: Langley RCMP officer and brother lead Amazing Race Canada Heroes Edition

Courtney and Taylor Callens have become the team to beat

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Trinity Western men’s soccer team starts California trip with a win

Spartans use their ability to execute on set pieces to claim a 3-2 victory

Police issue warning that 19-year-old poses ‘significant’ risk to the public

Varinderpal ‘VP’ Gill of Abbotsford involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict, police say

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Metro Vancouver water reservoirs in ‘good shape’

Reserves sitting at 70-per-cent full, officials said, despite long stretch without major rain

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Most Read