Does a standard measure of self-reported physical disability correlate with clinician perception of impairment related to cancer screening?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Background: Adults with physical disabilities are less likely than others to receive cancer screening. It is not known, however, whether commonly used measures assess elements of physical ability necessary for successful screening. The objective of this exploratory study was to determine whether patients who reported limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental ADLs (IADLs) are perceived by their primary care clinicians to have physical limitations that may impede cancer screening. Methods: Patients at 2 rural primary care clinics were surveyed about ADLs and IADLs and about their up-to-date status for breast, cervical, and/or colorectal cancer screening. Clinicians and office staff were asked whether they believed each patient had a physical limitation that might impede screening. The agreement between patient and clinician assessments was evaluated. Results: Clinicians believed that 43% of patients with severe disability (ADLs) and 30% of patients with moderate disability (IADLs) had limitations that might affect screening. Agreement between patient and clinician assessments was low according to the kappa statistic (κ = 0.355), but had a high percentage of negative agreement (92.3%) and a low percentage of positive agreement (42.7%). Patients with ADL/IADL-related disability were less likely than nondisabled patients to be current for cervical and breast cancer screening. Patients who were viewed by clinicians as having limitations relevant for screening were less likely to be current for cervical cancer screening. Conclusions: These results indicate that a common measure of general disability may not capture all factors relevant for cancer screening. An instrument designed to include these factors may help identify and accommodate patients who have disabilities that may impede screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1352
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012



  • disabled persons
  • early detection of cancer
  • health services research
  • healthcare disparities
  • primary health care
  • rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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