SCOTTISH women of Pakistani origin are at risk of late diagnosis of breast cancer because they are less likely to go for screening, according to a study.
Researchers looked at almost 140,000 records from 2002 to 2008 where women aged 50 and over were invited by the NHS to attend a breast screening clinic for the first time.
The study shows that compared with other white and ethnic groups, women of Pakistani origin are most likely not to take up a first invitation.
Experts from the University of Edinburgh found that the proportion of non-attendance was 41.9 per cent for women of that group, compared with 23.1 per cent for white women, 32.7 per cent for women of Indian descent and 37.4 per cent for women of African origin.
For other South Asian females, including women of Bangladeshi origin, the figure was 35 per cent, with 32 per cent of those of mixed background not attending.
In Scotland, since 1988, women aged 50 and over have been invited to breast cancer screening every three years. Screening reduces the risk of death from the disease through early detection and treatment.
The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer.
The researchers say the findings are “concerning” because previous research shows that women who attend breast screening at the first invitation are more likely to attend subsequent testing.
Also, data from England finds that traditionally low rates of breast cancer among South Asian groups are catching up with those of the white population.
Reasons for the low uptake among minority ethnic groups are thought to include lack of awareness of breast cancer and screening, modesty, perceptions of the health service and language difficulties.