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Cancer Burden and Control in Australia

Introduction to Breast Screening Health Campaign in Australia

According to the Department of Health (2018), in Australia, 3,128 women died due to breast cancer in 2018. On average, every 1 in 8 women before the age of 85 are diagnosed with cancer. In 2018, 18,087 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, therefore, the Department of Health if the Australian government decided to initiate a breast screen campaign to control this health issue. The risk factors include smoking, drinking alcohol, family history, faulty genes, obesity or being overweight, height, age, no exercises and many others. More than 28,000 women in Australia are involved in drinking habits; 14.7 % women of 45-54 years of age smoke; 3.7 % women of over 75 years of age smoke; 7.5 % women of 65-74 years of age smoke. According to Johnson et al. (2016), the complications of breast cancer are breast tenderness, bleeding, hardness, pain, wound infection, swelling of the arm, and many others. Therefore, this essay will critically discuss the health screen campaign in Australia. This campaign has helped in covering thousands of women under its primary and secondary targets.

The Campaign Aim and Elements

According to Dunn et al. (2020), ‘An invitation that could save your life’, is a breast screen campaign that is launched by the Australian Government Department of Health in 2015. Its aim is to provide free breast screening services to the women of Australia. The campaign included online, offline, out of home and radio materials for culturally diverse women and aboriginal women. It is found that 75 % of the women developed breast cancer over the age of 50 years and more than three thousand women died due to breast cancer in 2016. The objectives include inviting women fora free screening, to create awareness about beat cancer, to spread awareness about the importance of regular screening and screening at specific ages. The target population includeswomen of 65 – 75 years of age in the primary target group and 50 – 64 years women in the secondary target group. According to Smith et al. (2020), due to unawareness and incomplete information women do not understand the importance of regular screening so that at right time right actions can be taken to prevent the worsening of the health state. As this campaign is free so women of culturally diverse backgrounds and aboriginal women are also targeted in order to promote the good health of the women of Australia. The components include the use of magazines, newspapers, flyers, posters, brochures, and many others.

According to Lyons(2017), the effect of social media like newspapers and radio can impact the habits and lifestyles of the people as well. Therefore, the use of these technologies can help in promoting awareness and education about the importance of breast cancer and its screening among women. With the help of these technologies, it becomes easy to contact to a wider scale of population in a short time. Moreover, the people of remote and rural areas can also be connected with such methods. According to Seaman et al. (2018), it is found that the aboriginals are facing many health-related inequities due to disadvantages like poverty, disparities among the distribution of resources, and low life expectancy. In access to the treatment, they face health disparities that are observed in many serious illnesses like kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and oral health. The contrast between non-indigenous Australians and indigenous Australians are specifically in three areas that lead to health gap: social determinants, health risk factors, and acquire the chances to use appropriate health services. With the help of this campaign, the efforts have been made to reduce the gap in health disparities and health inequities.

The Model of Health

According to the Department of Health (2018), the health belief model is a model that guides disease prevention and health promotion programs. It is widely used to understand health behaviors and predict and explain individual changes in health behavior. This model is used for breast screen campaign for women for health promotion in Australia. For this, the perceived susceptibility which includes the women’s assessment is performed; this gives information about the chances of the women developing the disease. For this, the women and their families are educated for self-susceptibility for signs and symptoms. Perceived severity – educating and informing the women and their families so that they know about the severity levels of their breast cancer and associated health issues. Perceived benefits and cues to action – it involves videos, communication strategies, or testimonials for the target population and their parents so that they take part in healthy behavior adoption. In this way, with theoretical education, the target womenare encouraged towards health promotion and health education in campaigns and programs (Department of Health, 2015). In this, the women in their workplaces and public programs are educated about multiple unhealthy behaviors with a focus on self-management for their breast health. Through such programs, the women are attracted and the participants are intervened after regular intervals for their behavior until the completion of the program of health coaching. The women were educated about more physical activities like exercises or physical games, and less unhealthy food intake so that there is a reduction in their body fat and improved body health with reduced weight; ultimately leading to a healthy lifestyle (Youldenet al., 2020).

The Methodology of The Health Campaign

The research campaign was conducted nationallyin 2015 and it was a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI). According to Olver et al. (2016), the computer-assisted telephone interview has advantages like time savings, quality control, no editing required, cost savings, speed of the telephone, can customize the questions, and many others. However, there are many disadvantages as well like no visuals, mobile phones can cause sampling problems, interview length problems, and many others. In this campaign, the telephonic interview was conducted for about 15 minutes with the participants. Those who were not able to speak in English were asked questions in different languages; hence it was ensured that there are no language barrier issues. According to Youlden et al. (2020), sometimes due to language barriers, effective communication cannot occur and this ultimately results in poor and inadequate information collection and feedback. Even with patients language barriers result in dissatisfaction, decreased understanding of the disease, and poor results. If the individual is provided with the languages he/she is comfortable with, then this will help in gaining the trust and confidence among the participants during the campaign and better data collection.

Although, a telephonic interview is not considered much effective as the interviewer cannot check the body language of the participants and emotions on the face as well (Meyer et al., 2019). However, as the population is more so this was the best way to cover as many women as possible as it saved the time of the women as well because they do not have to come to the center to answer the questions and they can answer the questions overcall at their places comfortably. If while asking questions during the survey the participants feel comfortable and respected then they will get involved in the campaign and deliver detailed information. However, if there is development of chances of disrespect or discomfort then the participants might not provide the answers to the question effectively and this will result in development of poor findings.

The questions were open-ended and the samples were categorized in different groups like metro, non-metro, and aboriginals. There are many advantages of open-ended questions like give real customer insights, can provide detailed information, enhanced customer satisfaction, provide rich qualitative data, and many others. There are many disadvantages of open-ended questions like time-consuming, low response rate, difficult to analyze and interpret data, can gather a lot of irrelevant data, and many others (Meyer et al., 2019). According to Olver et al. (2016), a study with large sample size is considered more reliable as it lacks biases, variability, and standard errors. If the data collected through in-depth interviews are audio-recorded and performed face-to-face; then such interviews ensure various strengths to the study as it enables – observations of body language, clear and brief responses, in-depth data collection, and many others. The use of large sample sizes with random selection reduces the chances of bias studies and this came out as strength for this study. In some studies, it is also found that the use of telephonic interviews instead of face to face interviews is considered as a limitation. However, voluntary participation and statistical analysis were the strengths of the study to get reliable and unbiased data.

The Potential Success of The Campaign

According to Martini et al. (2016), in the success of the health campaign, it was found that in 86 % of the cases the early detection saved the lives. 64 % of the participants agreed to continue screening for the next 2 years. 91 % replied that the campaign was safe and easy to understand; 84 % said that it was a believable campaign; 75 % said it was informative; 60 % said it was attention-grabbing; 66 % agreed that screening can save a life. According to Ogunsiji et al. (2017), with the success of the campaign women were found to be more confident for their health and they actively get involved in campaigns. The following factors were identified as barriers to screening: The lack of family history of breast cancer means women think they are not at risk; Fear and concern about breast cancer and fear the results; Cultural barriers can act as barriers in communication and data collection and previous poor experience. The health literacy strategies are as follows: Using plain language in writing and speech; Confirming when having the conversation about screening; improving reminders and recall letters; Ensuring informed consent; Conducting health literacy workshops. The screening aims to reduce illness and death from cancer. According to Cheng et al. (2018), there are 3 cancer screening programs in Australia – BreastScreen Australia, National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, and the National Cervical Screening Program. Moreover, the governmental and non-governmental organizations should conduct programs in schools, institutes, private sector offices, and many other areas. A collaborative contribution and a diverse set of ideas will result in a better project plan. The government should release a sufficient amount of funds for funding the general practitioners should regularly check or instruct their patients and their family members about the health promotion projects/campaigns. The social workers should spread awareness among the aged people about a healthy lifestyle and the media should also ensure the education of prevention of risk factors and many others.

Conclusion on Breast Screening Health Campaign in Australia

There are many women in Australia that are affected by breast cancer. This is so because many women are exposed to risk factors like smoking, family history, smoking, and many others. As many as possible people should be covered in the campaign and it should be ensured that language barrier issues and cultural barrier issues should be effectively managed. The use of media, posters, brochures, and many others can help in attracting many women and encourage them for screening and get education/information about their health issues. The various stakeholders like governmental, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social workers, and health professionals should step forward together for the success of the campaign. There should be conduction of face-to-face interviews that can help in getting detailed and in-depth information for the campaign. There should be the consent of the participant along with voluntary participation to ensure that the ethics and rules are maintained. This health campaign aims to educate the women of diverse communities about the risk factors and spread awareness about how to prevent the disease from developing. This will improve the health status of the country and access to health medical services.

References for Breast Screening Health Campaign in Australia

Cheng, E. S., Weber, M., Feletto, E., Smith, M. A., & Yu, X. Q. (2018). Cancer burden and control in Australia: Lessons learnt and challenges remaining. Journal of Cancer Epidemiology2.

Department of Health. (2015). Campaign Evaluation BreastScreen Australia.

Department of Health. (2018). Brochure - BreastScreen Australia Campaign.

Department of Health. (2018). Cancer screening.

Dunn, N., Youl, P., Moore, J., Harden, H., Walpole, E., Evans, E., & Furnival, C. (2020). Breast-cancer mortality in screened versus unscreened women: Long-term results from a population-based study in Queensland, Australia. Journal of Medical Screening, 0969141320950776.

Johnson, R., Croager, E., Kameron, C., Pratt, S., Vreugdenburg, T., & Slevin, T. (2016). Public health advocacy in action: The case of unproven breast cancer screening in Australia. Public Health Respiratory Practice26(4), e2641648-e2641648.

Lyons, A. (2017). Journey to care. Good Practice, 33(4), 14.

Martini, A., Morris, J. N., & Preen, D. (2016). Impact of non-clinical community-based promotional campaigns on bowel cancer screening engagement: An integrative literature review. Patient Education and Counseling99(10), 1549-1557.

Meyer, S. B., Foley, K., Olver, I., Ward, P. R., McNaughton, D., Mwanri, L., & Miller, E. R. (2019). Alcohol and breast cancer risk: Middle-aged women’s logic and recommendations for reducing consumption in Australia. PloS One14(2), e0211293.

Ogunsiji, O. O., Kwok, C., & Fan, L. C. (2017). Breast cancer screening practices of African migrant women in Australia: A descriptive cross-sectional study. BMC Women's Health17(1), 32.

Olver, I. N., &Roder, D. (2017). History, development and future of cancer screening in Australia. Public Health Respiratory Practice27(3), 2731725.

Seaman, K., Dzidic, P., Breen, L., & Saunders, C. (2018). Exploring breast health practices of post-menopausal women: Implications to informed consent. Journal of Health Psychology23(14), 1820-1831.

Smith, J., Dodd, R. H., Hersch, J., Cvejic, E., McCaffery, K., & Jansen, J. (2020). Effect of different communication strategies about stopping cancer screening on screening intention and cancer anxiety: Arandomised online trial of older adults in Australia. BMJ Open10(6), e034061.

Youlden, D. R., Baade, P. D., Walker, R., Pyke, C. M., Roder, D. M., & Aitken, J. F. (2020).Breast cancer incidence and survival among young females in Queensland, Australia. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology9(3), 402-409.

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