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Keywords:

  • mammography;
  • cancer;
  • race;
  • barriers;
  • breast;
  • oncology

Abstract

Women of minority races and ethnicities have lower mammography return rates compared to Caucasians. To better understand barriers to mammography, we conducted six focus groups with 49 women of minority races and ethnicities (19 Asian, 16 African-American, and 14 Hispanic) recruited from outpatient medical clinics in Boston. Eligible women had at least one prior mammogram and no personal history of cancer. Discussions were recorded and transcribed, and thematic content analyses were performed. African-Americans and Hispanics felt that lack of insurance was not a barrier to mammography as they were aware of free programs. Some African-Americans avoided mammograms because they were fatalistic and believed that a breast cancer diagnosis would inevitably lead to death. African-Americans agreed that social issues, such as drug and domestic abuse, made obtaining preventive health care less important. Asian participants agreed that mammogram return rates were poor because appointments took time away from work. Asian and Hispanic women identified discourteous behavior by hospital staff as a barrier. Cultural barriers to repeat mammography appear to vary among different racial groups. Interventions to improve screening among minority populations may be more successful if they address group-specific concerns. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.