Coverage determinants of breast cancer screening in Flanders: an evaluation of the past decade

L. Ding, S. Jidkova, M. J.W. Greuter, K. Van Herck, M. Goossens, P. Martens, G. H. de Bock*, G. Van Hal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women in the developed world. In order to find developing cancers in an early stage, BC screening is commonly used. In Flanders, screening is performed in and outside an organized breast cancer screening program (BCSP). However, the determinants of BC screening coverage for both screening strategies are yet unknown. Objective: To assess the determinants of BC screening coverage in Flanders. Methods: Reimbursement data were used to attribute a screening status to each woman in the target population for the years 2008–2016. Yearly coverage data were categorized as screening inside or outside BCSP or no screening. Data were clustered by municipality level. A generalized linear equation model was used to assess the determinants of screening type. Results: Over all years and municipalities, the median screening coverage rate inside and outside BCSP was 48.40% (IQR: 41.50–54.40%) and 14.10% (IQR: 9.80–19.80%) respectively. A higher coverage rate outside BSCP was statistically significantly (P < 0.001) associated with more crowded households (OR: 3.797, 95% CI: 3.199–4.508), younger age, higher population densities (OR: 2.528, 95% CI: 2.455–2.606), a lower proportion of unemployed job seekers (OR: 0.641, 95% CI: 0.624–0.658) and lower use of dental care (OR: 0.969, 95% CI: 0.967–0.972). Conclusion: Coverage rate of BC screening is not optimal in Flanders. Women with low SES that are characterized by younger age, living in a high population density area, living in crowded households, or having low dental care are less likely to be screened for BC in Flanders. If screened, they are more likely to be screened outside the BCSP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Coverage rate
  • Mammography
  • Mass screening
  • Social determinants of health


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