Attitude of women towards early cancer detection and estimation of the compliance to a screening program for cervix and breast cancer

L. Bonelli, M. Branca, M. Ferreri, D. Barizzone, E. Rossi, S. Cedri, P. Bruzzi, L. Santi

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Before the start of a feasibility study for cervical and breast cancer screening in two towns (Genoa and Rome) in Italy, a random sample (N = 349) of the target population was interviewed with the aim of evaluating (i) the degree of knowledge as to the purpose of the screening tests; (ii) the attitude towards early detection of these cancers; and (iii) the potential compliance to the program. Pap test: 48.7% of women were correctly informed about the object of the test; information was associated with the degree of education (p <0.0001). Periodic Pap test was reported by 77.9% of women: the proportion was higher among younger (p = 0.013) and married women (p = 0.001). A 1-year interval between two tests was more frequently reported by younger women (p <0.0001). Estimated participation in the cervical cancer screening program was 63.3%. Increasing age (OR = 0.78; CI = 0.6- 1.0), the married status (OR = 0.39; CI 0.18-0.83) and lack of knowledge of the object of the test (OR = 0.47; el = 0.25-0.87) hindered participation in the program. Mammography: 53.3% of women reported that it is a method used for early detection of breast cancer. Well-educated women were more likely to be correctly informed (p <0.0001). Previous mammography was reported by 49.3% of women aged 50 to 69 years who never experienced breast cancer symptoms; married women more frequently reported having had the test (p = 0.02). Estimated participation in the breast cancer screening program was 59%. Women aged 60 years and over were less prone to participate (OR = 0.44; CI = 0.22-0.89). Increasing age was the most relevant barrier to participation in screening programs, and strong efforts should be made to involve older women, due to their greater chance of getting cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-352
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Detection and Prevention
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • breast and uterine cervix cancers
  • compliance
  • early diagnosis practices
  • screening program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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