Title: BreastScreen participation rates in mental health consumers
Author(s): Chris Lambeth, Grant Sara, Wendy Chen, Myu Arumuganathan, Fred Wu, David Currow
Introduction: Mental health consumers have increased cancer mortality, due primarily to increased fatality rates. The disparity in fatality rates is associated with health care factors including lower participation rates in screening programs. Quantifying the scale of the problem in NSW and identifying groups or communities most affected is an important foundation for system improvements. Our aim is to examine the rate of participation in breast cancer screening for female mental health consumers aged 50-74 years in NSW compared to other women in NSW.
Method: Using linked data from the NSW Mental Health Living Longer Project, we calculated breast cancer screening participation rates for women in NSW aged 50-74 years, who are the target group of the BreastScreen NSW program. Biennial screening participation rates were calculated for mental health consumers and compared to rates for the NSW population.
Results and findings: Mental health consumers were less likely to undergo breast cancer screening, with a crude screening rate of 29.2% compared to 52.5% for the NSW population (IRR 0.56; 95%CI 0.55-0.57). Rates standardised for age and socio-economic disadvantage will be presented in addition to rates by region, key demographics and type of mental health condition or care.
Discussion: Breast cancer screening rates for women using NSW mental health services are more than 40% lower than women of the same age in the NSW population. Lower screening rates may contribute to later breast cancer detection and increased breast cancer mortality among female mental health consumers.