The uptake for breast mammography remains low for women with learning disabilities, despite a number of policy developments and guidelines in recent years. This study set out to understand better the experiences of women with learning disabilities undergoing breast mammography.
The study team worked with four focus groups involving 19 women identified as having a borderline to moderate learning disability. Each of the women had received a breast mammography.
Analysis of the themes emerging from the content of the groups revealed a very limited understanding of breast cancer, risks, preventative factors and signs and symptoms. Sources of knowledge quoted were carers or from nursing staff when they got an invitation for mammography.
The women were mainly positive about their experience of breast mammography, but talked about feelings of fear and anxiety about the screening process and the fact they understood little about it. Lack of information and embarrassment were identified as the main barriers to screening for this group.
The authors call for accessible multi-format information to enable women with learning disabilities, their family carers and staff working with them to improve the knowledge and awareness of breast cancer and screening and consequently improve uptake of mammography.
Breast cancer knowledge among women with intellectual disabilities and their experiences of receiving breast mammography, Truesdale-Kennedy M et al in . Journal of Advanced Nursing 67 (6), 1294–1304.