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Chartbook on Women and Disability

Section 4: Living arrangements, family life, and medical experiences

4.4. Do women with functional limitations receive appropriate cancer screening?

Women with disabilities share with other women the same basic health care needs, yet they often face barriers to obtaining preventative and other standard medical care. The United States has set Year 2000 national health objectives to promote preventative screening for reproductive system cancers, estimated to affect more than a quarter of a million women nationally (Wellner, 1998). The objectives are to ensure that (1) at least 85% of women 18 years and over will have received a Pap test for cervical cancer within the past 3 years, and (2) at least 80% of women 40 and over will have received a mammogram in their lifetime. Using the National Health Interview Survey on Disability (NHIS-D), and the Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Supplement, researchers found that women with functional limitations were less likely than women with no functional limitations to have had a Pap test in the past 3 years. Women 65 years and over with functional limitations were less likely to have had a mammogram than those in the same age group with no functional limitations.

Women with functional limitations (particularly older women) are less likely to receive preventative screening for cervical and breast cancer.

Pap test (Cervical cancer screening)
Age group Functional
limitation
status
Percent had
Pap test
(past 3 years)
18 to 44 No FLs 80.2%
1-2 FLs 77.8%
3+ FLs 79.4%
44 to 64 No FLs 75.7%
1-2 FLs 70.2%
3+ FLs 74.4%
65+ No FLs 58.1%
1-2 FLs 51.8%
3+ FLs 46.0%
18+ (total) No FLs 76.1%
1-2 FLs 64.8%
3+ FLs 60.6%

Table 4: Percentage of women who received Pap test (past 3 years), by age group & functional limitation status (FLs)

Source: Nosek, Gill, & National Center for Health Statistics, CDC (1998).

Surveys: NHIS-D, 1994

Mammogram (Breast cancer screening)
Age group Functional
limitation
status
Percent had
Pap test
(past 3 years)
40 to 49 No FLs 77.6%
1-2 FLs 75.7%
3+ FLs 77.2%
50 to 64 No FLs 80.6%
1-2 FLs 79.7%
3+ FLs 80.9%
65+ No FLs 73.3%
1-2 FLs 70.1%
3+ FLs 64.7%
40+ (total) No FLs 77.8%
1-2 FLs 73.9%
3+ FLs 70.9%

Table 5: Percentage of women who received mammogram, by age & FLs

Source: Nosek, Gill, & National Center for Health Statistics, CDC (1998).

Surveys: NHIS-D, 1994

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