Patterns and Trends of Cancer Screening in Canada: Results From a Contemporary National Survey

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  • 1 Department of Oncology, University of Alberta and Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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Background: The aim of this study was to assess the patterns and trends of colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer screening within a contemporary cohort of Canadian adults. Methods: Canadian Community Health Survey datasets (2007–2016) were accessed and 3 cohorts were defined: (1) a colorectal cancer (CRC) screening cohort, defined as men and women aged 50 to 74 years with complete information about CRC screening tests and their timing; (2) a breast cancer screening cohort, defined as women aged 40 to 74 years with complete information about mammography and its timing; and (3) a cervical cancer screening cohort, defined as women aged 25 to 69 years with complete information about the Papanicolaou (Pap) test and its timing. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was then performed to evaluate factors associated with not having timely screening tests at the time of survey completion. Results: A total of 99,820 participants were considered eligible for the CRC screening cohort, 59,724 for the breast cancer screening cohort, and 46,767 for the cervical cancer screening cohort. Among eligible participants, 43% did not have timely recommended screening tests for CRC, 35% did not have timely mammography (this number decreased to 26% when limiting the eligible group to ages 50–74 years), and 25% did not have a timely Pap test. Lower income was associated with not having a timely recommended screening tests for all 3 cohorts (odds ratios [95% CI]: 1.86 [1.76–1.97], 1.89 [1.76–2.04], and 1.96 [1.79–2.14], respectively). Likewise, persons self-identifying as a visible minority were less likely to have timely recommended screening tests in all 3 cohorts (odds ratios for White race vs visible minority [95% CI]: 0.87 [0.83–0.92], 0.85 [0.80–0.91], and 0.66 [0.61–0.70], respectively). Conclusions: More than one-third of eligible individuals are missing timely screening tests for CRC. Moreover, at least one-quarter of eligible women are missing their recommended breast and cervical cancer screening tests. More efforts from federal and provincial health authorities are needed to deal with socioeconomic disparities in access to cancer screening.

Submitted February 14, 2020; accepted for publication June 26, 2020.

Disclosures: Dr. Abdel-Rahman has disclosed that he is on the advisory board for Eisai Canada.

Correspondence: Omar Abdel-Rahman, MD, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta and Cross Cancer Institute, 11560 University Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T4G 1Z2. Email: omar.abdelsalam@ahs.ca

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