Breast Cancer Knowledge among Women with Intellectual Disabilities

Laurence Taggart, Maria Truesdale-Kennedy, Sonja McIlfatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To ascertain knowledge of breast cancer among women with ID and explore their experiences of breast mammography. Method: A qualitative approach using four focus groups with women with ID was employed and a semi-structured interview schedule aided the process. Results: Knowledge of associated risks, preventative factors and signs and symptoms of breast cancer were extremely limited with their sources of knowledge primarily coming from carers. Positive attitudes towards mammography were reported. However, these women also described feelings of fear and anxiety, attributed to a lack of under- standing about the screening process. A lack of information and embarrassment were identified as the main barriers to screening. Ongoing support from carers and accessible information were considered to be the main solutions for encouraging attendance for breast mammography. Conclusion: This study highlights the need for health promotion and education for women with ID, their family and carers in order to enhance the knowledge and awareness of breast cancer and screening. This will aid not only in reducing the adverse affects of breast mammography but will ensure that informed decisions about breast screening are made. More accessible multi-format information for women with ID is essential in order to facilitate health promotion and education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Sept 2010


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