BACKGROUND: No study has investigated factors associated with non-participation or partial participation in the different combination patterns of screening programmes for all three cancers, that is, breast, colorectal and cervical cancer.
METHODS: In a retrospective cohort study, we sought to describe combinations of cancer screening participation rates among women in the Val-de-Marne area of France and to identify individual and contextual factors associated with non-participation or partial participation.
RESULTS: Women aged between 50 and 65 and who were eligible for all three screening programmes (n = 102 219) were analysed in multilevel logistic models, with the individual as the Level 1 variable and the place of residence as the Level 2 variable. The women who did not participate in any of the screening programmes were 34.4%, whereas 30.1%, 24% and 11.5% participated in one, two or all three screening programmes, respectively. Age below 55, a previous false-positive mammography, prior opportunistic mammography only, no previous mammography, membership of certain health insurance schemes (all P < 0.05) and residence in a deprived area (P < 0.001) were independently associated with non-participation or partial participation. We observed a stronger effect of deprivation on non-participation in all three cancers than in combinations of screening programmes.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the health authorities should focus on improving cancer screenings in general rather than screenings for specific types of cancer, especially among younger women and those living in the most socially deprived areas.