Access to care, the absence of symptoms or undressing are the main reasons given by the women interviewed.
Only 44.9% of French women aged 50 to 74 have had their mammogram in 2022, and 12% – or more than a million women – have never even been screened. This is what emerges from a study by the National League Against Cancer published this Tuesday, consulted by France Bleu and France Inter, as the annual “Pink October” awareness campaign begins this Sunday.
THE national organized breast cancer screening program invites however “every 2 years women aged 50 to 74 years to perform a screening mammogram, supplemented by a clinical breast examination (observation and palpation)”, we can read on the Santé Publique France website.
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This lack of screening can be explained by several reasons, according to the National Cancer League. 34% of the women questioned initially mention the absence of symptoms, but “the point of screening is to arrive before the signals appear“, recalls League spokesperson Emmanuel Ricard.
“Up to six months of waiting”
The question of access to care also plays an important role. More than 15% of the women questioned say they live too far from a screening center, face waiting times that are too long or even do not know which professional or establishment to contact. “There is a reduction in the number of radiologists and an extension of delays“for appointments, confirms Emmanuel Ricard.”In Vendée, it can be up to 6 months of waiting.” In addition, one in 5 women say they fear pain during the exam.
10% of women also explain that they are afraid of undressing in front of a caregiver. The League calls for a “educational work to anticipate this fear“, while it is “a rising number“.
Finally, the lack of breast cancer screening is explained by fear of the disease. “A certain number of women anticipate the risk of having cancer, and say to themselves ‘I’m already in too much trouble’, I prefer to wait for it to hit me rather than confront the potential of a positive resultf”, concludes League spokesperson Emmanuel Ricard.
In France, the best breast cancer screening campaign dates back to 2012, when 52% of the women concerned had their mammogram. With nearly 60,000 new cases and 12,000 deaths per year, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in France and the leading cause of cancer death. The disease is geria in 9 out of 10 cases when detected in time.