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Diabetic Women Less Likely to Undergo Mammograms

Apr 17, 2014

Women with diabetes were 14% less likely than those without the disease to undergo breast cancer screening…. 

A study conducted by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences (ICES) in collaboration with Women’s College Hospital found that when compared to women without diabetes, those with diabetes were 14 percent less likely to be screened for breast cancer.

This is one of the few studies to look at the influence of socioeconomic status on the gap in mammogram screening among diabetic women.

Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe, a staff physician at Women’s College Hospital and an adjunct scientist at ICES, said in a statement. "Managing the demands of a chronic condition such as diabetes is challenging for many women, leaving other preventative actions, like screening for cancer, to fall by the wayside." "Our study found having diabetes posed a significant barrier to breast cancer screening even after considering a woman’s socioeconomic status, a known contributor to disparities in care among women."

Researchers evaluated women of ages 50-60 years with diabetes between 1999-2010. On examining the data they saw that women who reported having diabetes, a chronic metabolic disease in which blood sugar levels are too high, were 14 percent less likely to receive mammogram during the recommended screening period compared to those without diabetes. 

Apart from this, the researchers noticed that low socioeconomic background was a major obstacle in preventive care. This is important as women with diabetes are at an increased risk of breast cancer and have poor survival chance on being diagnosed.

Dr. Lipscombe added, "Given the increasing demands on family doctors today who are seeing more patients than ever before, preventive issues like cancer screening are often overlooked." "Programs that offer incentives and reminders for cancer screening or allow for self-referral may help ensure all women are getting their mammograms when they need them most."

Diabetic Medicine, April 2014