Breast screening for post-menopausal women
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Breast screening for post-menopausal women

Ann Lalor Clinical nurse manager, Stewart’s Hospital Services Ltd, Palmerstown, Dublin
Richard Redmond Visiting academic, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin

Following a survey in Ireland, Ann Lalor and Richard Redmond report on challenges that exist in providing breast cancer screening services for women with learning disabilities living in long-term care facilities

Aim The aim of this study was to explore the extent of surveillance for breast cancer for post-menopausal women with learning disabilities living in residential care.

Methodology The primary carers of 129 post-menopausal women with learning disabilities living in three residential care settings were surveyed using a newly developed questionnaire. The response rate was 69.7 per cent.

Results The findings revealed that 85.6 per cent of the sample received invitations to attend mammography breast screening, with an attendance rate of 93.5 per cent. However 16 per cent were unable to complete the procedure owing to difficulties such as fear, discomfort, distress and an inability to co-operate. Of the women surveyed 26.7 per cent received a manual breast examination. However 24 per cent of the entire sample did not receive any breast surveillance.

Conclusions Even though a substantial proportion of the women received breast screening, almost a quarter received no screening, owing to difficulties experienced during the procedure, not receiving an invitation to attend for screening or a failure to carry out manual breast examinations.

Learning Disability Practice. 12, 9,28-33. doi: 10.7748/ldp2009.11.12.9.28.c7380

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