Keywords: Mental illness, Breast Cancer Screening, Medical Statistics
Emma Ross is a PhD student in the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast. During the completion of her BSc in Biomedical Science (Queen’s University Belfast), Emma developed a particular interest in the study of disease-related epidemiology despite the predominantly lab-based aspect of the course. Emma’s PhD comprises a data-linkage exercise in which three healthcare datasets will be linked to analyse trends in breast screening attendance in those with a previously diagnosed mental illness compared to the general population. Statistical tools will be used to assess the trends in breast screening attendance and to what extent mental illness explains previously determined gradients in urban/rural breast screening uptake and other individual, household and area-level characteristics. The findings of this research are of great interest to Department of Health, Social Services, and Public Safety (DHSSPS) which governs screening policy, the Quality Assurance Reference Centre (QARC) which monitors the quality of the Northern Ireland Cancer Screening Programmes, and healthcare professionals who specialise in the treatment of individuals with mental illness.