(HealthDay News) — People with severe mental illness are less likely to participate in cancer screening, according to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, researchers assessed possible associations between severe mental illness and participation in cancer screening among 13.1 million adults in England.

The study included 1.71 million people eligible for bowel cancer screening, 1.34 million people eligible for breast cancer screening, and 2.50 million people eligible for cervical cancer screening.

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Screening participation was lower among people with severe mental illness than among those without it for bowel cancer (42.11% vs 58.89%), breast cancer (48.33% vs 60.44%), and cervical cancer (64.15% vs 69.72%) screening.

The lowest participation was seen for people with schizophrenia (33.50% for bowel cancer, 42.02% for breast cancer, and 54.88% for cervical cancer). This was followed by other psychoses (41.97%, 45.57%, and 61.98%, respectively) and bipolar disorder (49.94%, 54.35%, and 69.69%, respectively).

Among people with severe mental illness, participation in bowel cancer screening and breast cancer screening was lowest among Black people. Participation in cervical cancer screening was lowest among Asian people.

People who lived in the most deprived areas had the lowest participation in cancer screening, whether they had severe mental illness or not.

The researchers noted that deprivation and racial differences did not explain the lower participation in screening seen among people with severe mental illness.

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