Medical College of Wisconsin
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Black women's awareness of breast cancer disparity and perceptions of the causes of disparity. J Community Health 2013 Aug;38(4):766-72



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Black women face the greatest breast cancer mortality burden of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. Breast cancer disparity is particularly pronounced in Chicago, where Black women were 62 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than their White counterparts in 2007. No work to date has examined views of disparity among a population living in the context of a large, well-documented, and grave health disparity. We examined (1) awareness of breast cancer disparities among Black women in Chicago; and (2) Black women's perceptions of the causes of breast cancer disparity. Four focus groups with Black women were held in Chicago. Participants completed a brief survey about their views of breast cancer prior to the group discussion. In response to the survey question, "In your opinion, who is more likely to die from breast cancer?" 51 % of participants believed all women have the same chance of dying from breast cancer. In focus group discussions, participants placed responsibility for disparity on individual behaviors and community culture. Participants believed that disparity resulted from Black women's lack of awareness of cancer screening and their failure to be screened or treated for breast cancer. The majority of participants were unaware of breast cancer mortality disparities. Moreover, while health researchers and professionals believe disparity in Chicago results from healthcare system inequalities, Black women largely viewed breast cancer disparity as a consequence of individual behaviors, knowledge and attitudes.

Author List

Kaiser K, Cameron KA, Curry G, Stolley M


Melinda Stolley PhD Center Associate Director, Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

African Continental Ancestry Group
Attitude to Health
Breast Neoplasms
Data Collection
Focus Groups
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Health Status Disparities
Middle Aged
Young Adult
jenkins-FCD Prod-411 e00897e83867fcfa48419861683711f8d99adb75