Breast Event for Women with a Learning Disability
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among females in the UK, yet women with a learning disability who are eligible for breast screening are the least likely to attend.
The Worcestershire Community Learning Disability Team are working to improve this statistic for women living in the county.
Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the county’s main provider of community hospitals and mental health services, have a dedicated team to help those living with a learning disability to access health care.
Working closely with GPs and other healthcare services, the team provides specialist services adapted to meet the needs of those living with a learning disability, to break down the barriers they can face when accessing health services.
Hoping to increase uptake of breast screening, the team recently held an event to introduce women with a learning disability to the local breast screening service.
Delivered in a relaxed and pressure free environment, attendees were given a tour of the facilities and an opportunity to meet the radiographers and nurses who would conduct a breast screening if they were to attend the Worcestershire Breast Unit in Worcester.
There were also demonstrations to show how to check breasts for changes or abnormalities and adapted easy read materials, developed specifically for those with a learning disability.
Saffron Davies, Community Nurse Learning Disabilities for South Worcestershire Community Learning Disabilities Team said, “We were delighted to welcome women of all ages who have a learning disability to the Breast Unit. We hope that they went away with more confidence and understanding about sharing any concerns they might have about attending screening appointments. Often it is the simple things such as looking at the screening equipment in person rather than on a photograph that can make all the difference”
It is hoped that events like this will reduce the anxiety many people experience around screening and increase the uptake of appointments.
The team plan to organise similar events to improve the attendance at appointments for a variety of different healthcare issues.
For more information about breast cancer screening visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening/
Pictured, Saffron Davies – Community Learning Disability Nurse, Rachel King - Breast Care Specialist Nurse and Joanna Penson - Breast Imaging Radiographer