Objective: To explore the participation rates for breast and colorectal cancer screening and identify associated correlates among elderly women.
Methods: Logistic regressions were conducted using data collected in 2006 from 1,533 elderly women aged 60 years or above who had completed a screening instrument, the Minimum Data Set-Home Care, while applying for long-term care services at the first time in Hong Kong.
Results: The participation rates for breast and colorectal cancer screening among frail older Chinese women were 3.7% and 10.8% respectively. Cognitive status was inversely associated with the likelihood of participation in screening (breast: OR = 0.66, 95%CI = 0.47-0.94; colon: OR = 0.81, 95%CI = 0.66-0.99), as was educational level with the likelihood of participation in breast cancer screening (no formal education: OR = 0.20, 95%CI = 0.06-0.61, some primary education: OR = 0.31, 95%CI = 0.10-1.00).
Conclusion: The delivery of cancer preventive health services to frail older women is less than ideal. Cognitive status and educational level were important factors in cancer screening behaviour. Tailor-made strategic promotion programmes targeting older women with low cognitive status and educational levels are needed to enhance awareness and acceptance within this vulnerable group.