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Double Discourse: Qualitative Perspectives on Breast Screening Participation among Obese Women and Their Health Care Providers

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Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2750, Australia
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School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2750, Australia
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School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2750, Australia
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NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2750, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040534
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 13 February 2019
Obesity in Australia is rising rapidly, and is a major public health concern. Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer and worsens associated outcomes, yet breast screening participation rates in Australia are suboptimal and can be lower in higher risk, obese women. This study qualitatively explored barriers to breast screening participation in obese women in Australia. In-depth interviews (n = 29), were conducted with obese women (body mass index ≥ 30) and key health providers. A disconnect between providers’ and women’s perceptions was found. For women, low knowledge around a heightened need to screen existed, they also reported limited desire to prioritize personal health needs, reluctance to screen due to poor body image and prior negative mammographic experiences due to issues with weight. Providers perceived few issues in screening obese women beyond equipment limitations, and health and safety issues. Overall, weight was a taboo topic among our interviewees, indicating that a lack of discourse around this issue may be putting obese women at increased risk of breast cancer morbidity and mortality. Consideration of breast screening policy in obese women is warranted. Targeted health promotion on increased breast cancer risk in obese women is required as is a need to address body image issues and encourage screening participation. View Full-Text
Keywords: obesity; breast screening; mammograms; health service utilization obesity; breast screening; mammograms; health service utilization
MDPI and ACS Style

McBride, K.A.; Fleming, C.A.; George, E.S.; Steiner, G.Z.; MacMillan, F. Double Discourse: Qualitative Perspectives on Breast Screening Participation among Obese Women and Their Health Care Providers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 534.

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