Women with DD have very little knowledge about cervical and breast cancer screenings

By Susan Parish, PhD, MSW
The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, Brandeis University

Women with developmental disabilities (DD) are less likely to get screened for cervical and breast cancer than women without disabilities.

What did you do in your research?
We wanted to understand and figure out why women with DD are not getting screened for cervical and breast cancer. Twenty-one community rehabilitation, community college, and multiservice DD service organizations participated in the study. Two hundred and two women were recruited from these sites. In order to get the women’s cervical and breast cancer screening knowledge, they went through a computer-assisted, face-to-face interview. We asked women questions related to what they knew about cervical and breast cancer screenings, such as Pap tests and mammograms.

What did you find out?
We found that women with DD had very little knowledge and understanding about cervical and breast cancer screening.

What are the take-home messages?
Women with DD can benefit from classes or interventions to help them better understand the importance of these screenings. Also, there is a critical need for health care providers to educate their patients with DD about these screenings. Health care providers should work diligently to ensure that their patients receive cervical and breast cancer screening according to recommended clinical guidelines.

To learn more about these findings contact
Susan Parish or check out Project website.

Full Journal Article
Parish, S., Swaine, J., Luken, K., Rose, R., Dababnah, S. (2012). Cervical and breast cancer-screening knowledge of women with developmental disabilities. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 50(2), 79–91.