Nursing perspectives on cancer screening in adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities

Intellect Dev Disabil. 2010 Aug;48(4):271-7. doi: 10.1352/1934-9556-48.4.271.


Health care disparities have been documented in cancer screenings of adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities nurses were surveyed to better understand and improve this deficiency. Two thirds of respondents believed that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities received fewer cancer screenings compared with the general population. The most frequently cited barriers to cancer screenings were as follows: patient need for sedation, unsuccessful attempts at screening, and failure of the primary care clinician to order cancer screening tests. Nurses observed that health care providers frequently did not tailor cancer screening recommendations to individuals' family histories, life expectancies, or their disability-specific cancer risks. The authors suggest interventions to improve cancer screening centered around education and training, accessibility, financing-insurance, modification of procedures, and patient tracking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Developmental Disabilities / genetics
  • Developmental Disabilities / nursing*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / nursing*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Intellectual Disability / nursing*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • United States