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Women with learning disabilities and access to cervical screening: retrospective cohort study using case control methods

Reynolds, Fiona; Stanistreet, Debbi and Elton, Peter (2008) Women with learning disabilities and access to cervical screening: retrospective cohort study using case control methods. BMC Public Health, 8 . Article Number: 30. ISSN 1471-2458

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Cited 8 times in WoS


Background: Several studies in the UK have suggested that women with learning disabilities may be less likely to receive cervical screening tests and a previous local study in had found that GPs considered screening unnecessary for women with learning disabilities. This study set out to ascertain whether women with learning disabilities are more likely to be ceased from a cervical screening programme than women without; and to examine the reasons given for ceasing women with learning disabilities. It was carried out in Bury, Heywood-and-Middleton and Rochdale. Methods: Carried out using retrospective cohort study methods, women with learning disabilities were identified by Read code; and their cervical screening records were compared with the Calland- Recall records of women without learning disabilities in order to examine their screening histories. Analysis was carried out using case-control methods – 1:2 (women with learning disabilities: women without learning disabilities), calculating odds ratios. Results: 267 women's records were compared with the records of 534 women without learning disabilities. Women with learning disabilities had an odds ratio (OR) of 0.48 (Confidence Interval (CI) 0.38 – 0.58; X2: 72.227; p.value <.001) of receiving a cervical screening test; an OR of 2.05 (CI 1.88 – 2.22; X2: 24.236; p.value <.001) of being ceased from screening; and an OR of 0.14 (CI 0.001 – 0.28; X2: 286.341; p.value <0.001 of being a non-responder compared to age and practicematched women without learning disabilities. Conclusion: The reasons given for ceasing and/or not screening suggest that merely being coded as having a learning disability is not the sole reason for these actions. There are training needs among smear takers regarding appropriate reasons not to screen and providing screening for women with learning disabilities.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:7 pages (page numbers not for citation purposes). Published: 24 January 2008.
Uncontrolled Keywords:cervical cancer; smoking; oral contraceptives; parity; cervical trauma; sexually transmitted infections;
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Medicine > School of Population, Community & Behavioural Sciences
Publisher's Statement:© 2008 Reynolds et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Related URLs:
ID Code:667
Deposited On:25 Jun 2008 11:44
Last Modified:20 May 2011 09:09

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