Open Access Research article

Participation in breast cancer screening among women of Turkish origin in Germany – a register-based study

Eva-Maria Berens*, Lisa Stahl, Yüce Yilmaz-Aslan, Odile Sauzet, Jacob Spallek and Oliver Razum

Author Affiliations

Department of Epidemiology and International Public Health, Bielefeld University, School of Public Health, Universitaetsstrasse 25, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany

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BMC Women's Health 2014, 14:24  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-24

Published: 10 February 2014



Population-based breast cancer screening programs were implemented to reduce breast cancer mortality and to improve recovery chances. Breast cancer screening participation among migrant women differs from that of autochthonous populations in several European countries. Here we investigate for the first time participation among women of Turkish origin in Germany.


Data of five screening units covering 2010 and 2011 as well as associated population registries were analysed. Women of Turkish origin were identified using a name-based algorithm. Participation ratios among women of Turkish origin and odds ratios compared to women of non-Turkish origin were calculated. Analyses were stratified and adjusted for age-groups and screening unit.


A total of 208,500 participants in the five breast screening units were included, out of 423,649 eligible women in the catchment areas (participation 49.2%). Women of Turkish origin have a slightly higher chance to participate in breast cancer screening than women without Turkish origin (OR 1.17; 95% CI: 1.14-1.21). Only women of Turkish origin aged 65–69 years have a lower chance to participate than women without Turkish origin (OR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.66-0.75).


In spite of low participation in preventive measures among migrant populations, the overall breast cancer screening participation among women of Turkish origin in Germany seems to be higher compared to women of non-Turkish origin. Turkish women aged 65 years and above have a lower chance of participation than younger Turkish women. There is need for further research to study factors affecting participation in screening among migrant and non-migrant populations in Germany.

Breast cancer screening; Mammography; Participation; Use; Uptake; Attendance; Immigrants; Turks; Germany; Name-based identification