Date of Award

12-1-2001

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Africana Women's Studies

First Advisor

Professor Josephine Bradly

Abstract

This study identifies forces that prevent or contribute to women's participation in breast cancer screening and other breast cancer prevention activities. The study was based on the premise that women from the lower socioeconomic groups in India, South Africa, and the United States had a higher rate of breast cancer because they are diagnosed at the more advanced stages of the disease and do not engage in breast screening opportunities. Moreover, there is limited access to services and transportation, and there is little faith in the professional health care provider and the treatment received from the health care provider.

Surveys and interviews were used to assess the women's level of involvement in breast cancer related prevention programs. Similar methods were used to assess the level of involvement by health care professionals in providing breast cancer prevention activities.

The researcher found that the issues related to breast cancer are comparable in South Africa, India, and the United States. Further, it was found that, for the women in all three countries, there was a lack of access to health care; thus, women were not receiving the medical treatment they needed; the women were diagnosed at the more advanced stages of the disease; there was a lack of available transportation to the sites where they could participate in health prevention programs; there was a lack of information about breast cancer made available to women of color; and the level of participation in health care programs is related to the socioeconomic conditions and to the cultural aspects of some women's lives and the long waiting periods for medical services.

The conclusion drawn from the findings suggests that a culture-sensitive model is needed for women of color, and health care professionals need to be more sensitive to the needs of women regardless of socioeconomic level. The three countries should consider holding global workshops on breast cancer, and health clinics and other medical facilities should send reminder cards to female patients or have health care workers do home visits to remind patients of the need for mammogram.

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