Poor health in people with learning disabilities is associated with a number of risk factors, one of which is the lower likelihood of getting timely access to screening services.
Previous studies have shown that women with learning disabilities are less likely than those without disabilities to have access to cervical and breast cancer screening services as set out in the relevant clinical guidelines.
There are a number of reasons for this, and the researchers in this (USA based) study were interested in looking at one of these – the extent of women’s knowledge about cervical and breast cancer screening. They hoped to use this to inform the development and testing of a number of interventions to increase uptake of cervical and breast cancer screening
They worked with a sample of 202 women with learning disabilities who lived in community settings. They found that the majority of the sample had little knowledge of cervical and breast cancer screening.
Interestingly, they found that those who lived at home with families had the most limited understanding.
Cervical and Breast Cancer–screening Knowledge of Women with Developmental Disabilities, Parish S et al., in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: 50, 2, 79-91.