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Does women’s empowerment and their socioeconomic condition affect the uptake of breast cancer screening? Findings from NFHS-5, India

BMC Womens Health. 2023 Jan 7;23(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s12905-022-02147-5.


BACKGROUND: Screening for breast cancer results in early diagnosis of the disease and improves survival. However, increasing participation of women in screening programs is challenging since it is influenced by socioeconomic and cultural factors. This study explores the relationship of socioeconomic and women empowerment factors with breast cancer screening uptakes in the states and union territories of India.

METHODS: We used summary reports of secondary data from all the states and union territories based on the fifth wave of the National Family Health Survey in India. This ecological study compares the uptake of breast cancer screening across states of India. We considered socioeconomic status (SES) and women empowerment status (WES) indicators from the survey as independent variables and state-wise breast cancer screening uptake as dependent variables for studying their association. The determinants of breast cancer screening were calculated using a simple linear regression model.

RESULTS: We found that socioeconomic status and women empowerment status moderately correlated with breast cancer screening uptake (correlation coefficient 0.34 and 0.38, respectively). States with higher rates of literacy among women and of women who had their own bank accounts that they decided how to use reported higher uptake of breast cancer screening (p = 0.01 and 0.03, respectively). However, the correlation was not uniform across all the states. The states of Chandigarh, Delhi, Telangana, and Karnataka showed lower participation despite a higher percentage of literate women and women with their own bank accounts.

CONCLUSION: This study indicates that women’s literacy and having their own bank account may moderately improve their participation in cancer screening. However, higher SES and WES did not translate into better screening in many of the states. More research is needed, especially for states which had low screening uptake despite relatively higher rates of women empowerment.

PMID:36611149 | DOI:10.1186/s12905-022-02147-5

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