Enablers for screening

Research shows that people with intellectual disability are at risk of age related cancers but do not access preventative health care to the same extent as others in the community.

Sometimes the beliefs of carers and support workers can act as a barrier to people with intellectual disability accessing screening tests. Some people think that people with disability do not need screening tests because:

  • people with disability are asexual
  • people with disability are eternally 'childlike'
  • all people with disability are heterosexual (i.e. they are not LGBTIQ)
  • people with disability cannot make adult decisions around relationships, parenting and health
  • people with disability should not receive sexuality education as it makes them want to have sex

These beliefs are not true. All people, including people with intellectual disability, have the right to choose to be sexual and have relationships, access health information and should take part in preventative cancer screening.

What are the enablers for screening and how can you become involved?

There are a number of strategies that can be used to enable a person with intellectual disability to access screening.

Here are some things that you can do:

  • provide health information in an appropriate format such as easy English resources and videos
  • explain the screening process
  • support the person to attend the screening appointment
  • work with parents/carers and other disability support workers to promote preventative health screening
  • provide information on the screening process prior to attending the appointment
  • allow time for the person to discuss their concerns
  • be an advocate for the preventative health care of people with intellectual disability

Let's see what people with intellectual disability say about cancer screening.

Cervical screening videoTiffany and Taryn talk about the Cervical Screening Test

Breast screening videoGayle and Danielle talk about mammograms

Bowel screening videoKevin and Gayle talk about bowel screening

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