Women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds screen for breast cancer less often than the general population. At BreastScreen Victoria, we are committed to reducing barriers to screening. We know that engaging women in their preferred language can be up to ten times more effective in getting them to screen.
That's why we're delivering a 12-month targeted participation and recruitment initiative to re-engage lapsed screeners from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in North West and St Vincent's Reading and Assessment Service (RAS) catchment areas. This initiative aligns with the Victorian Cancer Screening Framework's Participation and Recruitment Strategy.
With the help of five newly on-boarded Bilingual Client Contact Officers, we are implementing three strategies to re-engage these clients:
- Sending SMS messages in 13 languages: Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Vietnamese, Greek, Cantonese, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, Macedonian, Maltese, Tagalog, and Polish
- Making calls in Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Greek
- Holding dedicated screening sessions with interpreters at clinics
Almost 3,300 clients across 13 languages have received in-language SMS communications since April, reminding them to book for their overdue screen. In-language calls have begun in Arabic and Mandarin, with over 50% of calls completed so far.
Mandarin Bilingual Client Contact Officer Gracy Wu is proud to be working on this project and re-engaging lapsed Mandarin clients to book them in for a breast screen.
"Clients with language barriers expressed that they highly appreciated the in-language service that we provide to them, not only at the time of booking but also to greet them in person at group booking sessions at selected clinics," Gracy said. "Even if a client does not wish to make a booking at the time, we still turn the call into a courtesy reminder and urge the client to either call back or book online in the future."
Arabic Bilingual Client Contact Officer Nancy said the group bookings provide clients with a sense of community with people in similar circumstances.
"Clients feel more comfortable knowing that they can attend group booking sessions at selected clinics, where we will be present to assist them in-language and where they will be surrounded by individuals of the same language speaking background," Nancy said. "Arabic-speaking clients with language barriers have informed us that the in-language calls have been a 'breath of fresh air' and feel a lot more comfortable with the process. It is a relief for their children too as it alleviates one extra task for them having to perform for their parents, especially if they already lead a busy lifestyle."
We're also taking advantage of these opportunities to promote bowel and cervical cancer screening as part of a co-designed effort with our community and cancer screening agency partners Cancer Council Victoria and VCS Foundation.
At BreastScreen Victoria, we want to make sure there are no barriers to breast screening for culturally and linguistically diverse people.