Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United Kingdom (UK) accounting for about 15% of cancer deaths. The National Breast Cancer Screening Programme in the UK was introduced in 1988 to assist with early detection and better management of breast cancer. Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women however have a low uptake of the National Breast Screening programme when compared to their White counterparts. Within the BME group, Black African women have the lowest uptake of screening services and are more likely to have an advanced stage of the disease at diagnosis, leading to poorer survival rates than White women. This study aimed to explore the factors that lead to low uptake of the National Breast Cancer Screening Programme among Black African women living in Luton and present action points to local breast cancer services. Using a qualitative research design, six focus groups were conducted with a total of twenty-five Black African women residing in Luton between May and June in 2013. Data was analysed thematically using the framework approach. Four main themes emerged across the focus group discussions: knowledge and beliefs about breast cancer and risk factors, prevention of breast cancer and awareness of the NHS breast screening service, delays in attending the NHS breast screening service and suggestions for improving information on breast cancer and the NHS breast cancer screening service. The findings from this study suggest the need for more targeted information on breast cancer and screening services for Black African women. This could help improve the uptake of the NHS breast screening service, promote early help-seeking behaviour and improve breast cancer outcomes for this ethnic group.
Olufikayo Bamidele, Nasreen Ali, Chris Papadopoulos and Gurch Randhawa
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