Table 1

Addressing barriers to screening with faith-based messages developed with Muslim women in the codesign phase

Key barriers to cancer screeningCounteracting faith-based message
I need to have a female doctor or nurse.If it’s a necessity and an important test, I can have a male doctor or nurse.
I pray to God for health before I turn to medical care as a last resort.God will ask me after death about five main things; one of them is ‘How did I care for my body?’
I’m afraid cancer screening might be uncomfortable/painful.The pain incurred on the path to doing a good deed, like life-saving screening to care for my body, is rewarded by God, and saving one life is saving all of humanity.
I’m afraid of what the screening test might find and of dealing with the aftermath.Reading the Quran and remembering that God is with me will help me cope with my fear of the test result.
Receiving the letter with my screening result is too stressful.It’s part of my duty to look after my body to find out everything I can about how to keep it healthy and catch cancer early when it is treatable.
Certain actions can prevent me from getting cancer, like eating dates and black seeds.Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, and it is up to mankind to go and find it.
I don’t think I will get cancer and I don’t need to do screening.Precaution is really important in Islam: when I am aware of danger, it shows my wisdom.
Cancer might be a way to heaven if I have suffered such a big test in this world.It is Allah’s will that I am sick or cured, but it is up to me to care for my health both physically (through screening) and spiritually.
Cancer screening is embarrassing/challenges modesty.My duty to look after my health comes first, so I can be fit and strong to practise my faith.
Certain cancers like colorectal, breast and cervical cannot be mentioned in public.I was given this body to look after it. Therefore, such an illness is a test from God on how well I can look after my body for Him.
Collecting your ablutions for colorectal screening is disgusting and creates impurity.Keeping myself healthy justifies putting up with disgust.
I have to look after my family’s needs before my health.Islam advises to first take care of my health needs and then others’ needs.