Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

First Advisor

Janie Carlton

Abstract

Background. African American women are more likely to have breast cancer diagnosed at a later stage than Caucasian women and with a five year death rate 1.5 times greater than Caucasian women. Mammography screening detects breast cancer in its early stages and can reduce mortality.

Objective. To examine factors influencing early detection of breast cancer for African American women.

Methods. A convenience sample of 39 African American women 50 years of age and older was selected from two local Baptist churches in eastern North Carolina. Eligibility criteria included ability to read and write in English with no prior or present diagnosis of breast cancer. Instruments used for the collection of data included Nola Pender's "perceived Benefits and Barriers Scale" and a researcher prepared tool to gather demographic data from the participants.

Results. Benefits identified included knowing how often to receive a mammogram (89%), giving a sense of accomplishment (100%), health insurance pays for the mammogram (92%), breast cancer can be detected at a earlier stage by receiving regular mammograms (74%), and a belief that mammograms can detect cancer (80%). Barriers identified were receiving a mammogram takes too much time (85%), causes discomfort (90%), and not an enjoyable experience (95%). Although 74% indicated that breast cancer can be detected at a earlier stage by receiving regular mammograms and that mammograms can detect cancer (80%), only 54% indicated they knew the purpose of a mammogram and approximately half (49%) knew where to go for a mammogram.

Conclusion. By incorporating knowledge of the perceived barriers and benefits to receiving a mammogram, health care professionals can better plan educational programs to encourage the use of mammogram screening as well as in planning mobile screening sites within the community.

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