Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening and Associated Factors among Older Adult Women in South Africa


Background: Little is known about the cancer screening prevalence and correlates in older adults fromdifferent racial backgrounds. In the context of heightened efforts for prevention and early diagnosis, we collectedinformation on screening for two major types of cancers: cervical and breast cancer in order to establish theirprevalence estimates and correlates among older South African women who participated in the Study of GlobalAgeing and Adults Health (SAGE) in 2008. Materials and
Methods: We conducted a national population-basedcross-sectional study with a multi-stage stratified cluster sample of 3,840 individuals aged 50 years or older inSouth Africa in 2008. In this analysis, we only considered the female subsample of (n=2202). The measures usedincluded socio-demographic characteristics, health variables, anthropometric and blood pressure measurements.Multivariable regression analysis was performed to assess the association of socio-demographic factors,health variables and cancer screening.
Results: Overall, regarding cervical cancer screening, 24.3% ever hada Papanicolaou (PAP) smear test, and regarding breast cancer screening, 15.5% ever had a mammography.In multivariate logistic regression analysis, younger age, higher education, being from the White or Colouredpopulation group, urban residence, greater wealth, and suffering from two or more chronic conditions wereassociated with cervical cancer screening, and higher education, being from the White or Indian/Asian populationgroup, greater wealth, having a health insurance, and suffering from two or more chronic condtions wereassociated with breast cancer screening.
Conclusions: Cancer screening coverage remains low among elderlywomen in South Africa in spite of the national guideline recommendations for regular screening in order toreduce the risk of dying from these cancers if not detected early. There is a need to improve accessibility andaffordability of early cervical and breast cancer screening for all women to ensure effective prevention andmanagement of cervical and breast cancer.