Factors Affecting Women’s Participation in Breast Cancer Screening in Turkey

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Occupational Medicine, Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey.

2 Department of Public Health, Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey.


Background: Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer type in Turkey and the rest of the world. Regular mammography screening leads to a significant decrease in breast cancer mortality rates. The aim of this study is to analyze the factors that affect Turkish women’s participation in screening. Methods: This qualitative research design is grounded in a phenomenological approach. Fifteen women were selected using a purposive sampling method and participated in in-depth interviews. Interview data was analyzed using thematic content analysis. Results: The breast has a special meaning for participants which is heavily associated with feminity. Breast cancer causes fear because of its potential to undermine women’s sense of feminity. Women’s knowledge about the screening services and the mammography procedure is insufficient with only one third of women obtaining information about screening from healthcare workers. Individual and social factors that affect women’s participation in screening are women’s roles in the family, knowledge and awareness of breast cancer and screening, fear of cancer, anxiety about getting a mammogram, need for spouse-family support, and concerns for privacy. Organizational factors that affect participation are accessibility of breast cancer screening services, guidance given by and communication with healthcare professionals. Conclusion: Women should be better informed about breast cancer and screening services by healthcare professionals. Accessibility of mammography screening should be increased by expanding mobile services. National and institutional policies should be implemented to overcome women’s anxiety and socio-cultural barriers to increase participation in screening.


Main Subjects