Shine research into breast and cervical cancer screening experiences

26th January 2024


Continuing our ongoing campaign for better healthcare for those with spina bifida, Shine is conducting some research into cervical and breast screening experiences.

The service specifications for the NHS cervical screening programme and the breast screening programme require healthcare providers to support “those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or communications difficulties.” However, other research by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has shown that people with disabilities still face a number of barriers to accessing cervical screening. We know from our work with members, and our first 1000 Voices Survey, that accessing healthcare services isn’t always straightforward or possible.

We want to examine any barriers faced specifically by the spina bifida community when accessing essential breast and cervical screening services. To do this we’ll be sending out emails on the 28th of January, the last day of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. In case you miss it, or aren’t subscribed to our emails and still want to take part, click on the following link or copy and paste into your browser:

The survey has 40 questions in total but you will only need to answer some of these depending on the responses you give. It should take around 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey will close on Thursday 29th of February so if you’d like to take part, please submit your responses by then. 

Your responses will guide our campaign for people with spina bifida to have equal and barrier-free access to cervical and breast screening services. The ultimate aim is to help promote early detection, treatment, and better health for you and others with spina bifida.

We’ll also be using the survey data to create some information and advice for our members on accessing screening. If you need to book an appointment before this information is ready, we recommending contacting your GP surgery or your local Clinical Commissioning Group in advance to discuss your needs. Ask for advice on the most suitable place for you to access a test. This might not be at your usual GP surgery, it could be at your local hospital, or a different GP surgery, or possibly a more distant hospital. If you would need to travel to a different site, and this is something that would potentially stop you from being able to attend, you could ask about transportation assistance. For cervical screening a home visit by a district nurse may be possible. You can ask for a double appointment so you have time to discuss your needs and don’t feel pressured to hurry. Remember your health is a priority, healthcare providers should be willing to make accommodations to ensure you can access these important screening services.

Take the screening experiences survey

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