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Breast cancer-screening programme amongst unpriviledged women in Charleroi (Hainaut), Belgium


Cancer is the second cause of mortality in Belgium and in Hainaut. For women, breast cancer is highly prevalent (33% of cancers). Several studies have shown that there is an increase in certain cancers in disadvantaged populations because of risk factors that favour the disease, and there is cancer-screening reticence in this population. It should be noted that there is less detection breast cancer screening in Charleroi (48% in Hainaut versus 56% in Belgium).

There are high levels of precarious lifestyle because of low level of education, high female unemployment (33% in Charleroi versus 15% in Belgium), and lower average income compared with the Belgian average.


The project has three axes: to study the barriers and potential levers in systematic screening; to promote awareness sessions/to encourage underprivileged populations; and to incite GPs to promote cancer detection screening.


More than 1000 women have been reached. Qualitative and quantitative evaluation have been done for each axis. Principal barriers for screening were fear, budget, lack of time, lack of information and negligence. Possible levers were information, free testing, proximity of screening centres and systematic contact with GPs. Local GPs have been sensitized about their central role in breast cancer prevention.


Lack of knowledge is a major barrier to breast cancer screening. Negative consequences of breast cancer are more important in underprivileged women, which is why our project is pertinent and can help women not to dramatize and perhaps undertake a screening test.

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Bastin, F., Lejeune, M. Breast cancer-screening programme amongst unpriviledged women in Charleroi (Hainaut), Belgium. Breast Cancer Res 7 (Suppl 1), P8 (2005).

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