Beyond Universal Health Care: Barriers to Breast Cancer Screening Participation in Canada

Nanxi Zha, Mostafa Alabousi, Bhavika K. Patel, Michael N. Patlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Despite well-established preventive screening guidelines for breast cancer, screening rates do not meet targets in both the United States and Canada. Although access to preventive care is an important factor toward participation, breast cancer screening rates in Canada vary despite a universal health care system. The objective of this study is to understand features within the Canadian population that potentiate screening disparities through a systematic review of the literature. Methods: A search of MEDLINE and Embase was performed to identify relevant studies published from 2005 onward. Titles and abstracts were screened, followed by full-text screening. Inclusion criteria were defined as studies reporting on disparities in image-based screening for breast cancer. Results: Three hundred twenty-four studies were retrieved, from which 29 studies were selected on the basis of the predetermined inclusion criteria. Population groups identified at risk for low image-based screening participation included those of low socioeconomic status, individuals with comorbidities, new immigrants and refugees, those in remote geographic locations, individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and ethnocultural minorities. Barriers to image-based screening can be improved by targeting measures specific to these at-risk groups at the individual, organization, and policy levels. Conclusions: Multiple at-risk population groups exist for preventive cancer screening within a universal health care system. By understanding specific characteristics within these vulnerable populations, effective intervention strategies can be established to improve breast cancer preventive care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-579
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Breast cancer
  • Canada
  • disparity
  • preventative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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