Background: Although national-level organized cancer screening programs have reduced barriers to screening for people of low socioeconomic status, barriers to early screening remain. Our aim was to determine the diffusion pattern and identify the factors associated with early participation in stomach and breast cancer screening programs.
Methods: The study population was derived from the Korean National Cancer Screening Survey, conducted in 2007. A stratified random sample of people aged 40 years and older from a nationwide population-based database was gathered in Korea (n=1,517) in 2007. Time of participation in early screening was defined as the number of years that had elapsed between the participant's 30th birthday and the age at first screening.
Results: Significant differences were observed in the probability of adopting stomach and breast cancer screening in relation to education, household income, and job level. Results from Cox's proportional hazard model indicated that higher household income was significantly associated with an increased probability of adopting stomach cancer screening earlier (p<0.05), and people with high household incomes were more likely to adopt breast cancer screening earlier than were those with incomes under US$1,500 per month (p<0.01). When considered at a significance level of 0.1, we found that the most highly educated women were more likely than the least educated to be screened early.
Conclusions: Despite organized governmental screening programs, there are still inequalities in the early adoption of cancer screening. The results of this study also suggest that inequalities in early adoption may affect participation in regular screening.
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