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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2003 Oct;12(8):779-87.

The impact of a family history of breast cancer on screening practices and attitudes in low-income, rural, African American women.

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1
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205-7199, USA. dswest1@uams.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Women with a family history of breast cancer are at increased risk for developing cancer and, therefore, might be expected to engage in early detection practices more actively than women without a family history. Alternatively, women with a family history may avoid thinking about cancer and have attitudes and practices that do not promote early detection.

METHODS:

This study examined breast cancer attitudes and practices among African American women aged >or=50 who had not had a mammogram in the last 2 years.

RESULTS:

Phone survey data from 320 female clients of low-income, rural primary care clinics (91% African American) indicated that 15% self-reported a family history of breast cancer (FH(+)). Half of the FH(+) women did not know their relative risk of developing breast cancer. Of those providing a risk estimate, 67% perceived themselves at low risk compared with other women their age. Perceived relative risk was comparable between FH(+) and FH(-) women. Further, FH(+) women did not indicate greater worry about breast cancer, nor did they have more accurate knowledge of mammography recommendations than FH(-) women. Two thirds of FH(+) women had never had a mammogram. Monthly breast self-examination did not differ between FH(+) and FH(-) women.

CONCLUSIONS:

Thus, neither knowledge of a positive family history nor perceived relative risk of breast cancer was associated with either increased or decreased early detection practices among these low-income, rural, African American women who have underused mammography. Furthermore, a substantial proportion of FH(+) women had not ever participated in screening mammography. Interventions to increase mammography rates in this population of underusers are indicated.

PMID:
14588128
DOI:
10.1089/154099903322447747
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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