The impact of translated reminder letters and phone calls on mammography screening booking rates: Two randomised controlled trials

Globally, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Yet, participation in mammographic screening for breast cancer in Australia is only 54% among the general population, with even lower rates among women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. The north west area of Melbourne is rich in Italian and Arabic communities thus,  BreastScreen Victoria developed and tested strategies to engage Italian and Arabic speaking women in two randomised control trials (RCT). The first RCT compared the use of reminder letters in English with letters in the preferred language (Arabic or Italian). The second RCT explored the impact of reminder phone calls in the preferred language in comparison to no phone calls. They found that sending letters in the preferred language showed no difference in appointment rates. However, making a telephone call to women in their preferred language led to 10 times more screening appointments. This evidence highlights the importance of culturally relevant interventions, and has resulted in changes to routine practice to increase screening among CALD groups and reduce health inequalities.

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