Screening of high-risk groups for breast and ovarian cancer in Europe: a focus on the Jewish population

  • Karen L. Belkic | Institute of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm; School of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont; Institute for Prevention Research, The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Sweden.
  • Miri Cohen Department of Gerontology, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
  • Marcela Marquez School of Medicine, Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico.
  • Miriam Mints Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm,, Sweden.
  • Brigitte Wilczek Department of Mammography, Unilabs AB, Sankt Gorans Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Anne H. Berman Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Enrique Castellanos Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institute and Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Martha Castellanos Stockholm Ambulatory Care Center, SaltsjoBana, Sweden.


Low breast cancer screening rates are often found among ethnic minority groups and those born outside the host country. This is of particular concern for high-risk groups, who should benefit from ongoing trials aimed at optimizing screening strategies for breast, as well as ovarian cancer. Both of these issues are germane for Jewish women in Europe. We systematically review the literature concerning breast cancer early detection practices (BCEDP) among Jewish women, and examine European surveillance studies of high-risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer that had imaging in the surveillance protocol, in order to assess the likelihood of adequately including women from minority ethnic groups. No studies were found about BCEDP among Jewish women in Europe. Twenty-one research groups from Israel or the US addressed BCEDP among Jewish women. Some Jewish women in the US and Israel, including recent immigrants, are under-screened. Twenty-four research groups reported imaging surveillance of women at increased risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer in Europe. There was a clear benefit to magnetic resonance imaging and/or more intensive screening for women with increased breast cancer risk. Some of these surveillance studies considered ethnic minority groups at high risk, including Jewish women, but none provided adequate outreach to ensure that these groups were included in their programs. The specific screening needs of Jewish and other high-risk ethnic minority groups in Europe have not been met regarding breast and ovarian cancer. A European-wide, population-based approach is suggested, with cultural sensitivity being vital for these efforts.



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Breast cancer - Ovarian cancer - Early detection - Imaging surveillance - BRCA mutations - Cultural sensitivity
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How to Cite
Belkic, K. L., Cohen, M., Marquez, M., Mints, M., Wilczek, B., Berman, A. H., Castellanos, E., & Castellanos, M. (2011). Screening of high-risk groups for breast and ovarian cancer in Europe: a focus on the Jewish population. Oncology Reviews, 4(4), 233-267.