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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Jan;21(1):101-7. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2638. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Breast cancer knowledge, attitudes, and early detection practices in United States-Mexico border Latinas.

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  • 1Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health, Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.



Evidence suggests Latinas residing along the United States-Mexico border face higher breast cancer mortality rates compared to Latinas in the interior of either country. The purpose of this study was to investigate breast cancer knowledge, attitudes, and use of breast cancer preventive screening among U.S. Latina and Mexican women residing along the U.S.-Mexico border.


For this binational cross-sectional study, 265 participants completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire that obtained information on sociodemographic characteristics, knowledge, attitudes, family history, and screening practices. Differences between Mexican (n=128) and U.S. Latina (n=137) participants were assessed by Pearson's chi-square, Fischer's exact test, t tests, and multivariate regression analyses.


U.S. Latinas had significantly increased odds of having ever received a mammogram/breast ultrasound (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=2.95) and clinical breast examination (OR=2.67) compared to Mexican participants. A significantly greater proportion of Mexican women had high knowledge levels (54.8%) compared to U.S. Latinas (45.2%, p<0.05). Age, education, and insurance status were significantly associated with breast cancer screening use.


Despite having higher levels of breast cancer knowledge than U.S. Latinas, Mexican women along the U.S.-Mexico border are not receiving the recommended breast cancer screening procedures. Although U.S. border Latinas had higher breast cancer screening levels than their Mexican counterparts, these levels are lower than those seen among the general U.S. Latina population. Our findings underscore the lack of access to breast cancer prevention screening services and emphasize the need to ensure that existing breast cancer screening programs are effective in reaching women along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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