“Screening means finding out in time and having a better chance of getting through it. » In Alsace, Paule discovered her breast cancer in 2016 thanks to a mammogram. “Since then, I have been in remission and I have done all the cancer screenings, colorectal and cervical,” indicates this 67-year-old reader.
Like others, Paule responded to our call on screening campaigns organized by Health Insurance: tthree national screening programs exist in fact for breast cancers (mammography and clinical examination every two years for women aged 50 to 74), of the cervix (women aged 25 to 65, different screening before and after age 30) and colorectal (fecal occult blood test every two years for men and women aged 50 to 74).
But if the French largely support the principle, they are too reluctant to take action despite the invitations received, according to the National Cancer Institute and Health Insurance, which call for “general mobilization”.
Deadlines too long
Why are too few French people getting tested? According to some of our readers, this is due to the lack of professionals. “My gynecologist has retired and the other practices are no longer taking new patients,” says Véronique, a 67-year-old from Mosella. “My last consultation dates back to 2020”. In Haut-Rhin, Marie-France is faced with the same problem, but with the radiology office: “Impossible to get an appointment elsewhere. I’m still researching,” says the sixty-year-old.
Cadina also has difficulty respecting the instructions due to the lack of specialists and wonders if the terms should not be changed: “When we give you an appointment six months later, and we are not no longer available on the big day, we cancel, we postpone and ultimately we do not get tested. A triple course in a single appointment in a health center might perhaps be considered so that no check is neglected. The reminder by mail is a good thing, but I believe that we need to reach out to patients in a more active manner,” believes the 55-year-old Savoyard.
“I’m not brave”
If Christine agrees to do “a colonoscopy and an endoscopy every five years”, she shrinks from the mammogram “because for me, it’s horror. These breasts that are being crushed, it hurts, it’s beastly,” fears the 70-year-old Jura woman. “It’s very unpleasant,” says Gisèle, a 63-year-old from Landes. “But life is still more important. »
But getting tested means taking the risk of knowing. And that’s too hard for Violette: “I’m afraid of the result and the treatments which risk plunging me into a life of suffering, a life in slow motion, a body that is deteriorating. I don’t want to go through the treatments only to leave degraded and watch those around me suffer all the while. I’m not courageous,” concedes this 63-year-old resident of Côte-d’Or.
Violette is not alone in this situation. “I know people who don’t want to be screened for fear that something will be discovered in them,” confides Micheline, a 60-year-old from Burgundy. “I find this such a shame. We are lucky. Many patients would have liked to have it. It’s up to us to take advantage of it. »