Variation in cervical and breast cancer screening coverage in England: a cross-sectional analysis to characterise districts with atypical behaviour.
e007735 - ?
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OBJECTIVES: Reducing cancer screening inequalities in England is a major focus of the 2011 Department of Health cancer outcome strategy. Screening coverage requires regular monitoring in order to implement targeted interventions where coverage is low. This study aimed to characterise districts with atypical coverage levels for cervical or breast screening. DESIGN: Observational study of district-level coverage in the English Cervical and Breast screening programmes in 2012. SETTING: England, UK. PARTICIPANTS: All English women invited to participate in the cervical (age group 25-49 and 50-64) and breast (age group 50-64) screening programmes. OUTCOMES: Risk adjustment models for coverage were developed based on district-level characteristics. Funnel plots of adjusted coverage were constructed, and atypical districts examined by correlation analysis. RESULTS: Variability in coverage was primarily explained by population factors, whereas general practice characteristics had little independent effect. Deprivation and ethnicity other than white, Asian, black or mixed were independently associated with poorer coverage in both screening programmes, with ethnicity having the strongest effect; by comparison, the influence of Asian, black or mixed ethnic minority was limited. Deprivation, ethnicity and urbanisation largely accounted for the lower cervical screening coverage in London. However, for breast screening, being located in London remained a strong negative predictor. A subset of districts was identified as having atypical coverage across programmes. Correlates of deprivation in districts with relatively low adjusted coverage were substantially different from overall correlates of deprivation. DISCUSSION: These results inform the continuing drive to reduce avoidable cancer deaths in England, and encourage implementation of targeted interventions in communities residing in districts identified as having atypically low coverage. Sequential implementation to monitor the impact of local interventions would help accrue evidence on 'what works'.