Women with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are only half as likely to receive screening mammograms as women without such diagnoses, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online in Psychiatric Services.
“Women with schizophrenia appear to receive breast cancer diagnoses at later stages of the disease compared with the general population,” researchers explained. “To study this disparity, this report reviewed and quantified the differences in rates of mammography screening for women with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders compared with the general population.”
The meta-analysis included 11 studies that spanned more than 470,000 women in the United States, Canada, England, and Denmark. More than 25,000 of the women in the studies had schizophrenia or psychosis.
Compared with women without the diagnoses, the likelihood of women with schizophrenia or psychosis having received mammography screening was about half, the meta-analysis revealed.
Researchers theorized cancer screening may take a backseat to psychiatric and metabolic concerns in women with serious mental illness, according to coverage of the study. They called for new strategies to better promote mammography screening in the population.
“Lower screening rates could explain why women with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses are found to have more advanced breast cancer at time of diagnosis,” a Psychiatric News Alert quoted from the study. “Given the high prevalence of breast cancer and the promising prognosis of breast cancer if detected early, mammography screening is a key first step in improving diagnosis and treatment for people living with schizophrenia.”