BreastScreen NSW recently launched a series of community initiatives amongst women from Arabic speaking communities to promote breast screening with the aim of improving participation and addressing barriers to screening – in partnership with Cultural Partners and Arab Council Australia.
Arabic-speaking backgrounds have been identified as a priority population by the BreastScreen NSW program. Arabic-speaking populations are less likely to access screening services and as a result, may experience poorer outcomes during and after cancer treatment. The Arabic-speaking community represents one of the largest under-screened groups of women in NSW. As of December 2016, the participation rate for eligible Arabic-speaking women in the BreastScreen NSW program was 48.3% – meaning that 9000 eligible ladies were missing out on this life saving test. It is recognised that Arabic-speaking women face specific cultural and linguistic barriers to participating in cancer screening programs.
With the support of Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, women from Granville and surrounding areas were invited to participate in a local workshop, listen to a survivor story, participate in a Q&A with local health workers and be provided with information and knowledge about the positive benefits of breast screening.