, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 191-204

Urban black women's perceptions of breast cancer and mammography

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The purpose of this study was to examine differences in perceptions of breast cancer and mammography between black women who wanted a mammogram and those who did not. The subjects were 186 low socioeconomic black women who attended an inner city community health clinic (83% response rate). There were no significant differences on the demographic and background variables between women who did (N=139) and did not (N=47) want a mammogram. The knowledge level of both groups regarding breast cancer was poor. Those who desired a mammogram perceived themselves as more susceptible to breast cancer, and considered breast cancer more severe than those who did not want a mammogram. Neither group identified many barriers to obtaining a mammogram. The majority (at least 88 percent of those who wanted a mammogram and at least 55 percent of those who did not) agreed with each of the five benefit items. Eighty-five percent of both groups agreed they would receive a mammogram if their physician told them to do so. The two Health Belief Model components which accounted for the largest percentage of the variance between women who wanted a mammogram and those who did not were perceived benefits (13 percent) and perceived susceptibility (3 percent).

James H. Price is Professor of Health Promotion, Department of Health Promotion, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, Sharon M. Desmond, Assistant Professor of Health Education, Department of Health Education, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, Suzanne Slenker is Assistant Professor of Health Behavior, Department of Health Education and Health Behavior, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, Daisy Smith is Health Education Coordinator, Cordelia Martin Health Center, and Paula Stewart is Executive Director of the Cordelia Martin Health Center, 905 Nebraska Avenue, Toledo, OH 43607.
Funded by a grant from Ohio Department of Health, Division of Chronic Diseases.