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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • cultural factors;
  • ethnicity;
  • immigrants;
  • Korea;
  • mammography;
  • women’s health

Abstract

Title. Do cultural factors predict mammography behaviour among Korean immigrants in the USA?

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study of the correlates of mammogram use among Korean American women.

Background.  Despite the increasing incidence of and mortality from breast cancer, Asian women in the United States of America report consistently low rates of mammography screening. A number of health beliefs and sociodemographic characteristics have been associated with mammogram participation among these women. However, studies systematically investigating cultural factors in relation to mammogram experience have been scarce.

Methods.  We measured screening-related health beliefs, modesty and use of Eastern medicine in 100 Korean American women in 2006. Hierarchical logistic regression was used to examine the unique contribution of the study variables, after accounting for sociodemographic characteristics.

Findings.  Only 51% reported past mammogram use. Korean American women who had previously had mammograms were statistically significantly older and had higher perceived benefit scores than those who had not. Perceived benefits (odds ratio = 6·3, 95% confidence interval = 2·12, 18·76) and breast cancer susceptibility (odds ratio = 3·18, 95% confidence interval = 1·06, 9·59) were statistically significant correlates of mammography experience, whereas cultural factors did not correlate. Post hoc analysis showed that for women with some or good English skills, cultural factors statistically significantly correlated with health beliefs and breast cancer knowledge (P < 0·05).

Conclusion.  Nurses should consider the inclusion in culturally tailored interventions of more targeted outreach and healthcare system navigation assistance for promoting mammography screening in Korean American women. Further research is needed to unravel the interplay between acculturation, cultural factors and health beliefs related to cancer screening behaviours of Korean American women.