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It is recommended that women living with a disability contact BreastScreen SA on 13 20 50 to discuss their personal health requirements and/or individual circumstances prior to making a booking. Women with a disability may be referred to a medical officer or nurse counsellor to identify and discuss any potential barriers to having a breast screen.

For those women who are able to meet the physical requirements for having a breast screen, our highly-trained female radiographers will modify their technique to ensure a high-quality image is achieved. Longer appointments may also be arranged to ensure your breast screen is achieved with a minimal amount of stress and discomfort to you.

All metropolitan BreastScreen SA clinics have wheelchair access, however there are size and weight restrictions for some wheelchairs attending the mobile screening units. Undergoing a screening mammogram in a wheelchair requires specific techniques to ensure clear images can be taken of each breast, which is essential in detecting any subtle breast changes.

The following criteria must be met successfully for a woman to undergo a screening mammogram. A woman must:

  • be able to support herself
  • have sufficient mobility to sit forward on her own
  • have sufficient upper body muscle control to maintain the positions required
  • must have sufficient mobility to raise her arms to 90 degrees (horizontal) on her own, or with the help of a carer or support person
  • must be able to remain still at the time of image exposure (approximately 30 seconds). This may be an issue for women living with moderate neurological tremors, as they compromise a still picture.

You can bring your carer, friend or family member if you wish

Screening support for women living with a disability

BreastScreen SA provides the following support and information for women living with a disability:

  • appropriate information and support is available if you have an intellectual disability, a low level of literacy, or have a sight or hearing disability - please see our Guide to Breast Health booklet linked below
  • you can bring your carer, friend or family member to your appointment if you wish
  • Auslan interpreters are available
  • group bookings and familiarisation visits are available
  • your guide dog or assistance dog is welcome at your appointment
  • all staff of the service are adequately trained and equipped to provide care for women with a disability
  • with your (or your carer’s) consent, your nominated doctor is informed if breast screening cannot be provided as a result of your disability.

If you are unsure if you are able to have a screening mammogram, please call BreastScreen SA on 13 20 50 and speak with one of our Medical Officers about your options.

Support persons and substitute decision makers

BreastScreen SA acknowledges and supports the role of the woman’s carer or support person throughout her screening experience.

If it is not possible to obtain clear verbal consent from a client with an intellectual disability, consent can be provided by the authorised support person or substitute decision maker.

Even if an authorised support person or substitute decision maker has provided consent, a radiographer may stop the screening procedure if the client’s non-verbal behaviour is indicating they do not want the procedure to continue. This can apply before or during the screening procedure.