Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 633–639

Perspectives on Preventive Health Care and Barriers to Breast Cancer Screening Among Iraqi Women Refugees

Original Paper


Since the Iraq war began in 2003, over 4 million Iraqis have been displaced. Little is known about preventive cancer care in this population, but stark disparities have been documented. The purpose of this study was to assess the perspectives of Iraqi women refugees on preventive care and perceived barriers to breast cancer screening. Interviews were conducted in Arabic with twenty Iraqi refugee women by a bilingual (English/Arabic) medical student, transcribed, translated and coded according to established qualitative content and thematic analysis procedures. Psychosocial barriers, culturally mediated beliefs, and health consequences of war were identified as major themes, ultimately showing what factors, alone and collectively, have impeded Iraqi refugee women’s ability and motivation to obtain breast cancer screening. To improve cancer prevention and decrease disparities in care in this most vulnerable population, culturally appropriate health education and outreach programs, as well as further community-level targeted studies, are needed.


Refugees Immigrants Arab Breast cancer screening Preventive health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social Work, Bridgewater State UniversityBridgewaterUSA
  4. 4.Chelsea HealthCare Center, MGHChelseaUSA

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