Go to content

Level of disability, multi-morbidity and breast cancer screening: does severity matter?


Background — Women with disability may be less likely screened for breast cancer. Research is limited on the extent to which level of disability and multi-morbidity influence screening.

Methods — Using a retrospective population-based cohort study design, the authors linked administrative and self-reported survey data to identify screening in Ontario. The cohort was identified using two waves of the Canadian Community Health Survey (2005 and 2007/08). Fee codes were used to identify mammography imaging. Rates were examined over a two-year period and compared across level of disability and multi-morbidity.

Results — Among 10,363 women identified for study inclusion, 4660 reported some level of disability. Women with moderate disability had higher screening rates (71.4%) than women with no disability (62.0%) and women with severe disability (67.9%). The authors observed an inverse V-shaped relationship between level of disability and screening across all levels of multi-morbidity. In multivariate regression, women with moderate disability had higher odds of being screened compared to women with no disability (OR 1.2 [1.09-1.38]). Women with severe disability had lower odds of being screened compared to women with moderate disability (OR 0.72 [0.63-0.82]) and no disability (OR 0.88 [0.78-0.99]). Women with one chronic condition had higher odds of screening compared to women with no chronic conditions (OR 1.31 [1.17-1.46]).

Conclusion — Findings suggest that severe levels of disability and morbidity are associated with low likelihoods of breast cancer screening.



Guilcher SJ, Lofters A, Glazier RH, Jaglal SB, Voth J, Bayoumi AM. Prev Med. 2014; 67:193-8. Epub 2014 Jul 27.