An exploration of attitudes towards breast cancer screening in orthodox Jewish women in Antwerp – Belgium
Topics: Focus Groups, Jewish Women, Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Health, Health Education, Main Topic: Other
Abstract: Objective: To explore determinants of participation in breast cancer screening in orthodox Jewish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, and to uncover their opinions and attitudes towards screening, and thereby to detect ways to optimize participation. Study design: Focus group discussions were performed during the last months of 2011 and the first half of 2012 to explore motivation to participate or not in breast cancer screening. Groups consisted of five to seven women. Inclusion criteria were: being female, considering oneself as orthodox Jewish, aged between 50 and 69 years. Results: Three focus group discussions with in a total of 20 women had taken place. All participants in the focus group discussions had a screening mammography taken on a regular base. All participants agreed that the social cohesion between Jewish orthodox women and the importance that is given to healthcare within the Jewish tradition are important contributors to their participation in a breast cancer screening program. Pain, lack of information during the exam, lack of confidence in the quality of the exam, perceived problems when the examining doctor/technician is male, and fear of the results are mentioned as barriers. The participants, however, state that these were not important enough to result in non-participation. Barriers could be diminished by information sessions specifically aimed at orthodox Jewish women. Conclusion: This qualitative research demonstrates a generally positive attitude of orthodox Jewish women living in Antwerp, Belgium, towards mammographic breast cancer screening. Increased and repeated structured information sessions are likely to improve breast cancer awareness in this population.