It is well documented that people with intellectual disabilities have unmet health needs, oftendue to a lack of health screening opportunities. Gates (2007) highlights the fact thatmaintaining good levels of general health and well being are a concern to most, irrespectiveof whether they have an intellectual disability or not. Research has shown that the incidenceof cancer in people with intellectual disabilities is lower than that of the general population.
However in today’s day and age, with increasing longevity becoming common it is expected
that the incidence will increase. Following extensive reading and research into the area of breast cancer screening it is evident that screening services for breast cancer for women withan intellectual disability has not been promoted to the same extent as women in the generalpopulation.Breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women in Ireland. In 2000 a
government initative called “BreastCheck” was launched in an aim to address the issue of
breast cancer in Ireland. This service provides mammography screening for all women aged50 to 64 residing in Ireland.A report published by BreastCheck in 2010, based on figures and statistics in the year 2009and 2010, stated that,BreastCheck screened 121,160 women, compared to 92,061 women in 2008 and 66,527women screened in 2007
reflecting the expansion of the programme845 breast cancers were detected, compared to 672 cancers in 2008 and 396 cancers in 200775.7% of eligible women invited for screening accepted their invitationThere were 7 cancers detected per 1,000 women screenedThere appears to be no evidence on the uptake of mammograms for women with intellectualdisabilities living in residential or community house settings provided by service providers. Itis also evident from the literature that there is little documentation in relation to manual
breast examination. As far back as 1986 O’ Brien stated that people with an intellectual
disability should be guaranteed the healthcare to which they have a right, not least because itis implied as a principal of community integration and participation. Similarly Gates (2007)states that, for a registered nurse in intellectual disability (RNID), ensuring that the healthneeds of people in their care is met is an important dimension of their role.The researcher proposes to undertake a descriptive study using a quantitative approach toexplore the extent and frequency of attendance at mammography screening. Research will bedone on the barriers that may prevent women with intellectual disabilities attending servicesthat are available to women in the general population.