Breast awareness within an intellectual disability setting

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2010 Sep;14(4):328-36. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2010.03.005. Epub 2010 May 20.


Purpose: This study sought to examine proficiency, motivation and knowledge regarding breast cancer screening and awareness of nurses working within an Intellectual Disability setting. Additionally, the study aimed to examine and establish associations between nurses' personal and professional breast awareness practices. Breast cancer generally affects women between 50 and 65 years and is one of the principal causes of female deaths. Many women with intellectual disability are placed in the "at risk" age group for developing breast cancer due to increased life expectancy. However, breast cancer screening is much lower in women with intellectual disability compared to the general population.

Method: This study adopted a quantitative descriptive design. Data was gathered utilising an adapted version of the Modified Toronto Breast Self-Examination Inventory (MTBSEI).

Results: Results reflected that the majority of nurses in this study (n = 105) do not promote breast awareness for women with intellectual disabilities. Further, findings identified deficits in nurses' personal knowledge, skills and practices with regard to breast awareness and screening.

Conclusion: This study identifies the need to support nurses within Intellectual Disability settings with on-going education in relation to breast awareness, in order that breast awareness be promoted in clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Awareness
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Breast Self-Examination
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Intellectual Disability / nursing*
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / nursing
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff* / education
  • Nursing Staff* / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Statistics, Nonparametric