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Uptake of colorectal cancer screening among Ontarians with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Ouellette-Kuntz H, Coo H, Cobigo V, Wilton AS. PLoS One. 2015; 10(2):e0118023.


Under-screening for cancer may contribute to a greater disease burden in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) as their life expectancy increases. In 2008, the province of Ontario launched Canada’s first population-based colorectal cancer screening program. Our objectives were to compare the proportions of Ontarians with and without IDD who have undergone colorectal cancer screening and to examine factors associated with screening uptake among Ontarians with IDD. Records for Ontario residents 50–64 years of age were linked across various administrative health and social services datasets to identify individuals with IDD and to select a random sample of the age-equivalent Ontario population without IDD as a comparison group. Logistic regression models were fit to examine the odds of screening uptake among individuals with IDD while controlling for age, sex, urban or rural residence, neighbourhood income quintile, expected use of health care resources, and being enrolled with or seeing a physician in a patient enrolment model (any of several primary care practice models designed to improve patient access and quality of care in Ontario), and to examine the association between these variables and colorectal cancer screening in the IDD population. The odds of having had a fecal occult blood test in the previous two years and being up-to-date with colorectal tests were 32% and 46% lower, respectively, for Ontarians with IDD compared to those without IDD. Being older, female, having a greater expected use of health care resources, and being enrolled with or seeing a physician in a primary care patient enrolment model were all significantly associated with higher odds of having been screened for colorectal cancer in the IDD population. These findings underscore the need for targeted interventions aimed at making colorectal cancer screening more equitable.

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Keywords: Access to health care Colorectal cancer Developmental disorders

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