South Asians are only half as likely to take up an invitation for bowel cancer screening and 15 per cent less likely to attend breast cancer screening than non-Asians, researchers at the University of Warwick have found. They examined uptake in the NHS breast and bowel screening programmes among more than 400,000 residents in Coventry and Warwickshire. Two out of three non-Asians invited for bowel screening participated, compared with one-third of South Asians overall and only a quarter of Muslims. Similar results were seen for breast cancer screening – three-quarters of non-Asians invited attended for screening, compared with less than two-thirds of South Asians overall and just over half of Muslims. The researchers suggest cultural reasons may be at the heart of the issue.
Originally published in the June 2008 edition of MIMS Oncology & Palliative Care.