HEALTH AND CARE: Support women with learning disabilities to take care of their breasts

Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This week we take a pause on our articles about the seasonal flu campaign to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This October the NHS is calling for more women with learning disabilities to check their breasts.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and women with a learning disability eligible for breast cancer screening are the least likely to attend, even though it can save their life.

The latest data on breast cancer screening shows that the number of eligible women who attended their breast screening appointments dropped in all age groups, and women aged 65 to 69 with a learning disability saw the largest decrease, with just over half of those invited making their appointment.

There are lots of reasons why this may be the case – fear, embarrassment or not knowing enough about the screening process.

Whatever the reason, we want to change this and need everyone’s help – from health professionals to carers and loved ones, people can help to make a difference.

For carers and loved ones, please help the person you care for understand why breast screening is so important, what it will be like on the day and how it will help them stay well.

An easy guide to breast screening has been produced and can be downloaded from the CCG website.

They can take this with them or look at this breast cancer and breast screening information.

There are also leaflets which show you how to check your breasts.

You can even order a free reminder sticker to put in the shower.

If it is hard to talk to the person you care for then speak to their doctor or a nurse at their GP practice.

They will be able to help by providing easy to understand information, including easy read or can talk them through it during an appointment.

You can request extra time at appointments.

This is known as a reasonable adjustment (change to make things easier).

Sometimes it is a small thing or simple reasonable adjustment which helps women with a learning disability attend breast screening.

Find out more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month – www.breastcancercare.org.uk