205818 Breast and cervical cancer screening: Perceived barriers identified by low-income women with disabilities

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Virginia Miller, DrPH MS MPH , Department of Health Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Angela Martin, MSW , Developmental Disabilitites Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Karen Ward, EdD , Center for Human Development, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
Health disparities in cancer morbidity and mortality, as well as health service utilization, are important public health problems. The NCI indicates that lower rates of cancer screening and early detection are among factors contributing to advanced disease at diagnosis and higher cancer death rates among the underserved. Healthy People 2010 reports that women with disabilities lack access to health services and medical care. Access to primary care and health screening services may be very limited. Health screening services for female cancers, i.e. pelvic examinations and mammograms, may be particularly difficult to obtain. Women with disabilities may encounter attitudinal, environmental, economic and informational barriers to receiving health services. Women with disabilities have low rates of Pap tests, breast examinations and mammograms. Among low-income women, having a disability is likely to intensify problems with access to cancer screening. In a preliminary study designed to inform 2 funded projects, key informant qualitative interviews (6) were conducted with women with physical disabilities living in a large urban area. Questions, developed with input from content experts, included the following: access to primary health care; preventive health services, including breast and cervical cancer screening; satisfaction with care; experiences having the tests, e.g. transferring to the exam table, positioning. Recruitment was accomplished through a partnership with the Developmental Disabilities Institute. Themes identified by the preliminary interviews: women reporting access to cancer screening services also reported being in an ongoing system of health care and having an advocate/case manager to assist in navigating the health system.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the challenges faced by women with disabilities in securing primary care and cancer screening services; and Discuss the barriers to participating in cancer screening identified by women with disabilities.

Keywords: Cancer Screening, Disability Studies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Research experience in this field of study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.