Senior Women with
Diabetes Less Likely to Have Mammogram Despite Higher Risk
Researchers find low
socioeconomic status an additional obstacle to preventive care in
already disadvantaged population
April 14, 2014 –
Older women with diabetes are much likely to develop breast cancer and
less likely to survive the cancer, yet, researchers find these diabetic
women are 14 percent less likely to be screened for breast cancer
compared to women without diabetes.
The study by
researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and
Women's College Hospital, Toronto, is the first to examine the influence
of socioeconomic status on the gap in mammogram screening among women
demands of a chronic condition such as diabetes is challenging for many
women, leaving other preventative actions, like screening for cancer, to
fall by the wayside," said Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe, a staff physician at
Women's College Hospital and an adjunct scientist at ICES.
"Our study found
having diabetes posed a significant barrier to breast cancer screening
even after considering a woman's socioeconomic status, a known
contributor to disparities in care among women."
In the study,
researchers examined women aged 50 to 69 years with diabetes between
1999 and 2010. The study found women with diabetes were 14 per cent less
likely to receive a mammogram during the recommended screening period
compared to those without diabetes.
What's more, the
researchers found low socioeconomic status is an additional obstacle to
preventive care in an already disadvantaged population. This is of
particular importance as women with diabetes are at higher risk of
breast cancer and of poorer survival once diagnosed.
increasing demands on family doctors today who are seeing more patients
than ever before, preventive issues like cancer screening are often
overlooked," Dr. Lipscombe added.
"Programs that offer
incentives and reminders for cancer screening or allow for self-referral
may help ensure all women are getting their mammograms when they need
access to care is particularly important in health care settings such as
Canada, where breast cancer screening is universally subsidized by
provincial health plans either via physician referrals or self-referral
in Ontario through the Ontario Breast Cancer Screening Program, the
To improve cancer
screening in diabetes patients, initiatives should focus on support and
incentives for diabetes care providers and greater education for more
socially disadvantaged populations, they added.
The report on the
study was published last week in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
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