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Cancer Nurs. 2000 Aug;23(4):258-67.

Perceived risk and help-seeking behavior for breast cancer. A Chinese-American perspective.

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  • 1University of California, San Francisco 94143-0610, USA.


Delay in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer diminishes a woman's chance of survival. How do women decide whether and when to seek an evaluation of breast symptoms that may signal breast cancer? Prior studies of African-American, white, and Latino women have described a number of critical factors associated with making the judgment to delay, but at this writing, there have been no studies factors influencing Chinese-American women. By means of focus group methods in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, a sample of 45, predominantly first-generation Chinese-American women explained their understanding of breast cancer risk and their likelihood of delaying versus seeking evaluation of self-discovered breast symptoms. There was much congruence with the ideas of other American women despite the differing cultural heritage. Unique to these Chinese Americans was a sense of invulnerability to breast cancer, a linking of cancer to tragic luck, and the predominant likelihood of delay. To preserve modesty and to conserve wealth and time, many study participants favored using Chinese medicine and delaying Western therapies. This study suggests ways by which health care providers must approach guidelines for breast cancer early detection in this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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