Immigrant women going without mammograms

Foreign born and low income women in Sweden are missing out on their right to mammograms, according to a new study.

In many parts of the country, nearly one in three women fail to show up for their scheduled breast cancer screening, reports the Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden).

Women born outside of Sweden and low wage earners are most likely to forego the important preventative procedure.

Only five counties in Sweden offer mammograms in other languages than Swedish, and of 21 counties surveyed, only seven have taken any active measures to urge women to come in for an exam.

“It’s striking,” writes Ursula Tenglin, head of the Cancer Society, along with the organization’s spokesperson Ylva Thörn as well as lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who is the ambassador for the Society’s Pink Ribbon (Rosa Bandet) campaign, in an article published in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“According to Swedish healthcare law, everyone, irrespective of gender, ethnic background, or income, has the right to equivalent medical care. It’s serious that the healthcare system has failed to live up to that,” write the three, and demand that more be done to correct the problem.

Among other measures, they propose more targeted public information campaigns, keeping clinics open during evenings and weekends, introducing portable mammography equipment, as well as allowing economically disadvantaged women to participate without the risk of losing income.