Breast cancer is one of the commonest cancers to affect women. Present health service guidelines call for screening and mammography for all women aged between 50 and 65 years in an effort to increase early detection and improve survival rates. Nulliparity is one of the associated risk factors for breast cancer. Women with intellectual disability (ID) are increasing in longevity and are frequently nulliparous, and therefore, they are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The aim of the present study was to review the uptake and knowledge of women with ID living in the community of breast screening programmes. A postal survey of women aged > or = 50 years with ID living in community group homes was used to gather data. Only one-third of the women carried out regular breast examination and a similar proportion had received invitations to mammography. General practitioners and practice nurses were currently playing very minor roles in breast screening these women. Primary health care professionals may be missing opportunistic health promotion opportunities and the support services for women with ID living in the community could be provided with better training and resources to improve breast cancer screening in this vulnerable group.