Disabled Women in Quebec Still Struggling With Mammogram Access: Advocates

By Felicia Parrillo Global News
Posted May 4, 2022

A community group advocating for people with disabilities says some women are being denied access to mammograms because of their disabilities.

Its been an issue for nearly a decade, says RAPLIQ (Regroupement des activisites pour linclusion Québec).

We have breasts too, like women without disabilities, said Linda Gauthier, RAPLIQ president. So its humiliating when they are telling us no. Its like we have no access to health care.

The group said that in October it called 94 private clinics and hospitals across the province, designated to do screenings and 46 per cent of them refused to serve the woman if she had a disability.

Were mentioning were in a wheelchair, we cant stand up and we need proper accommodations and one of the answers we got is: Are you sure you cant stand up just for a few seconds? said Steven Laperrière, RAPLIQs general director. Weve had that answer more than once, believe it or not.

According to the group, back in 2017 they discussed the issue of accessibility with former Quebec health minister, Gaétan Barrette, and instructions on how to accommodate a woman with a disability were supposed to have been given to the screening centres.

But RAPLIQ insists, theyre clearly not being followed.

In a statement to Global News, Quebecs health and social services ministry say they deplore these kinds of situations.

In November 2017, the ministry intervened in certain centres denounced by RAPLIQ as not suitable for clients with reduced mobility. From that point on, all centres concerned by the complaint have had to put measures in place to adapt their mammography practices and services to people with disabilities We are dealing with these issues on an ongoing basis with the regions.

They added that all mammography equipment in Quebec can be adjusted to the height of a wheelchair, provided that the arms of the wheelchair are removable.

But advocates say the issue boils down to training and lack of knowledge, something thats in the instructions already provided.

You wouldnt want your mother, sister or daughter to die of breast cancer. We dont want that either, said Gauthier.

Original at https://globalnews.ca/news/8809474/disabled-women-in-quebec-still-struggling-with-mammogram-access-advocates/