For health's sake: Cervical and breast cancer screening

Angela F Meshack, The University of Texas School of Public Health


African-Americans make up twelve percent of the United States population, yet they experience morbidity and mortality at a rate that, in some cases, is disproportionate to their numbers. There are numerous health areas, including cancer, in which disparities exist. There are also numerous reasons which have been suggested to explain the high rates of cancer morbidity and mortality experienced by African-Americans. Among the reasons given to explain these differences are lack of knowledge and lack of access to medical care (1). This study sought to increase the knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intentions of African-American women attending a Baptist church in Houston with regard to cervical cancer, breast cancer, Pap smear, and mammography. It was hypothesized that a church-based cancer education program would produce the desired change in knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. The quasi-experimental design of the study was untreated control group with pretest and posttest and untreated control group with posttest only. Female members of Mount Ararat Baptist Church took part in an eight-week, cancer education program based on social cognitive theory. Baseline data were collected before the start of the program at Mount Ararat and at Solid Rock Baptist Church, control group one. At the end of the program, the follow-up survey was administered at the program church, control church one, and in a third church, Damascus Missionary Baptist Church, which served as the posttest only group. The data were analyzed by Fisher's exact and paired t-test to determine if the program supported the project's hypotheses. Results of data analyses supported the major study hypotheses, the exception being behavioral intention to have Pap smear performed. Although the program appeared to have generally influenced changes in the desired direction, the results are limited due to the quasi-experimental design and small sample size. Longer term studies with larger sample sizes are needed to more fully develop and evaluate programs which impact the health of African-Americans.

Subject Area

Health education|Public health|African Americans|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Meshack, Angela F, "For health's sake: Cervical and breast cancer screening" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9401777.