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Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening among US and non US Born African American Muslim Women in New York City

1 Department of Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, United States
2 Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, United States

Special Issues: Cancer screening in hard-to-reach populations

Health disparities related to breast and cervical cancer among African American and African-born Muslim women in the United States have been identified in previous literature. Our study aimed at exploring the breast and cervical screening rates and factors that influence this population’s disposition to adhere to cancer screening exams. Methods: Mixed methods were used to collect data with African American and African-born Muslim women in New York City. Data were collected from a total of 140 women; among them, 40 participated in four focus groups. Findings: Focus groups revealed nine themes: healthcare practices; lack of knowledge/misconceptions; negative perceptions and fear; time; modesty; role of religion; role of men; role of community; stigma and shame. Among 130 women who reported their cancer screening status, 72.3% of those age 21 and over were adherent to cervical cancer screening; 20.0% never had a Pap test. Among women age 40 and over, 80.2% reported adherence to recommended mammogram; 12.8% never had one. Among women under age 40, 52.2% had their last clinical breast exam (CBE) less than three years ago. Among women age 40 and over, 75.0% were adherent to yearly CBE. Conclusions: While rates of screenings were above the national average and higher than expected, specific barriers and facilitators related to religious and health beliefs and attitudes that influence the decision to adhere to screening were revealed. These factors should be further explored and addressed to inform future research and strategies for promoting regular breast and cervical cancer screenings.
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