The month of October is fast approaching, as is its annual campaign to raise awareness of women about breast cancer screening. For this 2023 edition of Pink October, the League Against Cancer published this Tuesday, September 26, a worrying survey on mammography, carried out last August with OpinionWay.
It reveals that less than one in two French women (44.9%), aged 50 to 74, have had their mammogram in 2022. “A result which places France at the bottom of the European ranking, very far from countries like Denmark or Finland, whose participation rates exceed 80%,” contextualizes the study. The survey also establishes that 12% (or more than a million women) have never even been tested.
The League Against Cancer, however, recommends carrying out a mammogram every two years, for women aged 50 to 74, in the absence of any symptoms or particular risk. For the youngest French women, from the age of 25, it is recommended to carry out a “gynecological follow-up consultation with a doctor, a gynecologist or a midwife for a breast examination (observation and palpation)”. The League reminds that “if in doubt, do not wait to consult”.
Several obstacles reflect these figures, according to the study. 34% of the women questioned put forward the argument of the “absence of symptoms”, 20% “fear of having pain”, 16% are “afraid of being diagnosed with cancer”, 11% “think that screening is not is useless”, 10% “mention the fear of undressing in front of a doctor” and finally, 10% “say that the screening centers are too far from their home”. Other women say they don't feel concerned, that they don't know where to get tested or that they don't think they have the time.
This drop in screening is alarming because breast cancer is the most common in women (33% among all other cancers). According to The League Against Cancer, 80% of breast cancers develop after the age of 50 and the median age of diagnosis is 64 years. Nearly 60,000 new cases were detected over the period of 2021-2022, according to a report from Public Health France published on June 12.
Although mortality has tended to decrease in recent years - particularly because 60% of breast cancers are detected at an earlier stage - 12,000 deaths are recorded on average each year. To avoid the worst, the message from the president of the League is clear: “Detected early, breast cancer is cured in 90% of cases.”
This survey was carried out in August 2023 on a sample of 1,006 women representative of the French female population aged 18 and over. The sample was constituted using the quota method, taking into account the criteria of age, socio-professional category, urban area category and region of residence.