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Community involvement increases breast screening among Italian and Arabic-speaking women

Arabic women tour clinic.

Women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds screen for breast cancer less often than the general population. A new study found that calling women in their preferred language, Italian or Arabic in this case, was ten times more effective in getting them to screen than receiving no call at all.

The study, published in the international journal PLOS One, tested simple but novel strategies suggested by women in the community and co-designed by BreastScreen Victoria as part of the OPtimise HEalth LIteracy and Access (Ophelia) process. Ophelia was developed by a team led by Distinguished Professor of Health Sciences at Swinburne’s Centre for Global Health and Equity, Professor Richard Osborne. Ophelia was designed to give women and health professionals a voice in the research process.

A trial participant from the Italian-speaking community said: “Receiving a call from an Italian-speaking woman made me feel comfortable to know what the call was about.”

Another participant said: “It was very helpful for me, and for other Italian women when booking an appointment to be able to ask what to expect from our breast screening. Being called prompted me to book a screening.”

“Community consultation was key to our understanding of intervention strategies that would support participation in mammography screenings. The success of in-language calls means we now routinely use them to reach people eligible to screen from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and we see very good take-up of our appointments as a result. It is vital that our service is accessible to everyone who’s eligible,” says BreastScreen Victoria CEO Vicki Pridmore.

More information
BreastScreen resources in Arabic
BreastScreen resources in Italian