Cancer-Specific Care

Women With Diabetes: Quality of Health Care, 2004-2005

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.46,47 Diabetes increases the risk of colorectal cancer among adults.48 Women with type 2 diabetes have higher rates of colorectal polyps than women without diabetes and increased rates of progression of polyps to cancer.49 It is recommended that adults age 50 and over be screened for colorectal cancer regularly.47 Older women (age 65 and over) are less likely than older men to be screened for colorectal cancer.18

Women age 50 and over who reported they had ever received a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or proctoscopy, by diagnosed diabetes status (left) and gender (right), 2005

Bar charts show percentage of women age 50 and over who reported they had ever received a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or proctoscopy. By diagnosed diabetes status: Women with diagnosed diabetes, 49%; women without diabetes, 48%; all women, 48%. By gender: Women with diagnosed diabetes: Total, 49%; Ages 50-64, 45%; Ages 65-74, 54%; Age 75 and over, 50%. Men with diagnosed diabetes: Total, 54%; Ages 50-64, 46%; Ages 65-74, 62%; Age 75 and over, 65%.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2005.

Appendix table number: Tables 21a and 21b.

  • Overall, less than half of women age 50 and over reported that they had ever been screened for colorectal cancer.
  • No significant difference was found between women with and without diagnosed diabetes who reported ever having been screened for colorectal cancer.
  • Women with diagnosed diabetes were significantly less likely than men with diagnosed diabetes to report that they had ever been screened for colorectal cancer by any method, either overall or at age 75 and over.

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Screening for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of death in women in the United States.50 Women with diabetes have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women without diabetes.51 The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every one to two years for women age 40 and over; however, previous studies have reported low rates of mammography use.52 Women with diabetes are less likely to have had a mammogram than women without diabetes.53 In addition, older women with diabetes are less likely than their counterparts without diabetes to have recommended preventive services other than for diabetes care, including mammography, bone density testing, and colorectal cancer screening.54

Women age 40 and over who reported they had a mammogram within the past 2 years, by diagnosed diabetes status, 2005

Bar charts show percentage of women age 40 and over who reported they had a mammogram within the past 2 years by diagnosed diabetes status. Women with diagnosed diabetes: Total, 67%; Ages 40-64, 68%; Ages 65-74, 71%; Age 75 and over, 55%. Women without diabetes: Total, 67%; Ages 40-64, 68%; Ages 65-74, 73%; Age 75 and over, 55%.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2005.

Appendix table number: Table 22. Women age 40 and over who reported they had a mammogram within the past 2 years, United States, 2005 .

  • Overall and in each age group, no significant difference was found between women with and without diagnosed diabetes who reported having a mammogram within the past 2 years.
  • Except for women ages 65-74, the percentages of women who reported having a mammogram within the past 2 years did not meet the Healthy People 2010 goal of 70%, most notably among women age 75 and over.

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Screening for Cervical Cancer

Between 1970 and 1999, both the incidence of invasive cervical cancer and mortality decreased by 40%.55 This improvement has been attributed to screening using the Pap test. Mortality from cervical cancer is rare among women of any age who have regular screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women who are sexually active and have a cervix have a Pap test.55

Women who reported they had a Pap test within the past 3 years, by diagnosed diabetes status, 2005

Bar charts show percentage of women who reported they had a Pap test within the past 3 years, by diagnosed diabetes status. Women with diagnosed diabetes: Total, 71%; Ages 18-44, 88%; Ages 45-64, 79%; Age 65 and over, 54%. Women without diabetes: Total, 78%; Ages 18-44, 83%; Ages 45-64, 82%; Age 65 and over, 57%.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2005.

Appendix table number: Table 23.

  • Overall and in each age group, no significant difference was found between women with and without diagnosed diabetes who reported that they had a Pap test within the past 3 years.
  • Women age 65 and older with and without diagnosed diabetes were significantly less likely than their younger counterparts to report that they had received a Pap test.
Current as of November 2008
Internet Citation: Cancer-Specific Care: Women With Diabetes: Quality of Health Care, 2004-2005. November 2008. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/final-reports/women-and-diabetes-2004-2005/wmdiab8.html