Early Detection of Breast Cancer and Barrier to Screening Programmes amongst Thai Migrant Women in Australia: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Sports Science, Thaksin University, Phatthalung, Thailand.

2 School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.


Background: Breast cancer screening programme is seen as the best practice to detect breast cancer early. However,
there are circumstances that can prevent immigrant women from attending screening programmes. Little is known
about Thai migrants and the barriers to their seeking breast cancer screening when living in a new homeland. This paper
aimed to discuss the barriers to attending screening services among Thai migrant women living in Australia. Methods:
This study adopted qualitative approach. Semi-structured in-depth interviewing and drawing methods were employed
as data collection technique with 25 Thai migrant women who had not experienced breast cancer and were living in
Metropolitan Melbourne, Australia. Thematic analysis method was employed to analyse the data. Results: Basing on
the Health Belief Model, most Thai migrant women did not perceive that they were at risk of breast cancer. Despite
seeing a breast cancer screening programme as important, the women rarely paid attention to breast cancer screening
and used the mammography services provided by the Australian health care system. The barriers included the location
of the services, unfamiliar patterns of health care provision, and language difficulties. Conclusions: There are many
barriers that that they encountered in Australia that prevent Thai migrant women living in Melbourne Australia to pay
attention to mammographic screening service provided by Australia health system. Our findings suggest that health
services and interventions need to be designed more sensitive to the needs and socio-cultural context of migrant women
in general and Thai migrant women in particular.


Main Subjects