Cancer screening concerns

27 February 2015

Leading experts have expressed concerns about how cancer screenings are conducted, and indicated that some of the most vulnerable members of society may be being neglected.

According to new research, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are significantly less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer than the rest of the population.

Led by Dr Hélène Ouellette-Kuntz, from the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen's University, Canada, the study looked at people diagnosed with conditions like autism and Down syndrome and found they were almost twice as likely to not be up-to-date with their screenings.

She said that, as people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live longer, their risk of developing health problems like cancer increases.

"Suboptimal screening may contribute to a greater cancer burden in this population," said Dr Ouellette-Kuntz, who is also a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

The study found that those who were older and female, had greater access to health care, and were enrolled with a physician in a primary care model were more likely to be screened, compared to other IDD participants.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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