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Participation in Cancer Screening Low for Those With Severe Mental Illness

Participation in bowel, breast, and cervical cancer screening was lower for those with severe mental illness

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 16, 2023 (HealthDay News) — People with severe mental illness (SMI) have lower participation in cancer screening, according to a study published online May 4 in the British Journal of Cancer.

Robert Stephen Kerrison, Ph.D., from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink for 1.71, 1.34, and 2.50 million adults assessed for possible associations between SMI and participation in bowel, breast, and cervical cancer screening, respectively.

The researchers found that screening participation was lower among adults with versus without SMI for bowel (42.11 versus 58.89 percent), breast (48.33 versus 60.44 percent), and cervical cancer screening (64.15 versus 69.72 percent). The lowest participation was seen for those with schizophrenia (33.50, 42.02, and 54.88 percent, respectively), followed by other psychoses (41.97, 45.57, and 61.98 percent, respectively) and bipolar disorders (49.94, 54.35, and 69.69 percent, respectively). People with SMI who live in the most deprived quintile areas (36.1, 40.23, and 61.47 percent, respectively) and those of Black ethnicity (34.68, 38.68, and 64.80 percent, respectively) had the lowest participation. Lower participation in screening was not explained by the higher levels of deprivation and diversity associated with SMI.

“We now need to learn more about why participation rates are lower for these individuals, so that medical professionals can tailor support and make it easier for people with severe mental conditions to attend,” Kerrison said in a statement.

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