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Arch Hellen Med, 33(2), March-April 2016, 189-197


Personal and social parameters of breast and cervical cancer screening

M. Moudatsou,1,2 A. Koutis,1 A. Philalithis1
1Department of Social Medicine, University of Crete, Medical School, Voutes, Heraklion,
2Department of Social Work, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Heraklion, Greece

Breast and cervical cancer are among the leading causes of female mortality in the world. Screening adherence plays a key role in breast and cervical cancer incidence and morbidity. Many factors are involved in women's adherence to screening guidelines. Personal and sociodemographic characteristics, the role of the health professionals in primary care and the national or local screening policies may all enhance or impede screening adherence. Parameters stemming from the social and cultural context play an active role in women's health related behavior. Individual social capital, both as a whole and through its various factors (participation in the community, value of life and tolerance of diversity), has been shown to be associated with breast and cervical cancer screening practices. Social capital encourages screening adherence by facilitating dissemination of relevant information and by providing women with a moral and structural obligation to take care of their health. Successful health policy for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer is a complicated issue with multiple spheres of influence at the level of the individual, the community and health professionals. Health promotion programmes should enable screening adherence through the dissemination of knowledge and the creation of pathways to minimize inequalities in health screening services and social insurance coverage. This paper examines the theoretical background of the personal and social parameters of adherence to breast and cervical cancer screening that facilitate the relevant health policy for cancer prevention.

Key words: Gynecological cancers, Mammography, Pap test, Prevention, Screening, Social capital.

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