Objectives To assess the impact of the quantity of resources for breast and cervical cancer screening on the participation rates in screening in clinical settings in municipalities, as well as to clarify whether lack of resources impairs access to cancer screening in Japan. Methods Of the 1,746 municipalities in 2010, 1,443 (82.6%) and 1,469 (84.1%) were included in the analyses for breast and cervical cancer screening, respectively. In order to estimate the effects of the number of mammography units and of gynecologists on the participation rates in breast and cervical cancer screening in clinical settings, multiple regression analyses were performed using the interaction term for urban municipalities. Results The average participation rate in screening in clinical settings was 6.01% for breast cancer, and was 8.93% for cervical cancer. The marginal effect of the number of mammography units per 1,000 women was significantly positive in urban municipalities (8.20 percent point). The marginal effect of the number of gynecologists per 1,000 women was significantly positive in all municipalities (2.54 percent point) and rural municipalities (3.68 percent point). Conclusions Lack of mammography units in urban areas and of gynecologists particularly in rural areas impaired access to breast and cervical cancer screening. Strategies are required that quickly improve access for the residents and increase their participation rates in cancer screening.
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