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Diabetes Cuts Breast Cancer Screenings

Update Date: Apr 11, 2014 06:44 PM EDT

Diabetes decreases the probability of getting screened for breast cancer, according to a new study on women.

Researchers found that female diabetics are 14 percent less likely to be screened for breast cancer compared to those without the metabolism disorder.

Researchers said the findings are the first to reveal the influence of socioeconomic status on probability of mammogram screening among female diabetics.

"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," researcher Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe, a staff physician at Women's College Hospital and an adjunct scientist at Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, said in a news release. "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."

The latest study, conducted between 1999 and 2010, involved women between the ages of 50 and 69 with diabetes. The findings revealed that women with diabetes were 14 percent less likely to get mammograms during the recommended screening period compared to those without diabetes.

Researchers noted that low socioeconomic status was found to be an additional barrier to preventive care in an already disadvantaged population.

Researchers said the latest findings are important because women with diabetes are more likely to develop breast cancer and have lower survival rates once diagnosed.

"Given the increasing demands on family doctors today who are seeing more patients than ever before, preventive issues like cancer screening are often overlooked," Lipscombe added. "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."

The findings are published in the journal Diabetic Medicine.

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