Supporting women with intellectual disabilities to access breast cancer screening: a health care professional perspective

Sonja McIlfatrick, Laurence Taggart, Maria Truesdale-Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cancer prevention has been identified as the most cost effective strategy for cancer control. This should extend to all groups including women with intellectual disability (ID), seeking to access breast cancer screening. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of health care professionals, such as primary health care staff (n=8) and breast care staff (n=10), on supporting women with ID to access breast screening in one region in the UK. A qualitative approach using focus groups and telephone interviews was adopted. Health care professionals identified that not only was it important that women with ID undergo regular breast screening but that they should have the same rights as other women to access breast screening services. Whilst many varied risk factors for breast cancer in women with ID were noted the level of cognitive functioning was clearly significant. Barriers to accessing breast screening included literacy problems, consent issues and physical health; practical barriers such as transport and timing of appointment; and barriers attributed to health careprofessionals, including staff attitude and lack of awareness and training. The participants identified the need to raise awareness and health promotion education not only for the women with ID but also for health care professionals, alongside developing more interdisciplinary practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-420
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Volume20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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