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Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2014 Mar;23(2):206-13. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12100. Epub 2013 Jul 16.

Migration from low- to high-risk countries: a qualitative study of perceived risk of breast cancer and the influence on participation in mammography screening among migrant women in Denmark.

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Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity, and Health, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Migrants are less likely to participate in mammography screening programmes compared with local-born populations in Europe. We explored perceptions of breast cancer risk and the influence on participation in mammography screening programmes among migrant women born in countries with low incidence rates of breast cancer. We conducted eight individual interviews and six group interviews including a total of 29 women aged 50-69 years living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Women were migrants born in Somalia, Turkey, Pakistan or Arab countries. Phenomenological analysis was used. Breast cancer was perceived to be caused by multiple factors, including genetics, health behaviour, stress, fertility and breastfeeding. Some women perceived breast cancer to be more prevalent in Denmark as compared with their country of birth, and perceived their risk of developing breast cancer to increase with length of stay in Denmark. Although most women agreed on the relevance of mammography screening, other cancers, chronic and infectious diseases and mental health problems were mentioned as equally or more important to target in public health programmes. A life course perspective comprising previous and current circumstances in country of birth as well as immigration country is important for understanding and influencing the screening behaviour of migrants.


breast cancer; ethnicity; prevention

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