Culturally sensitive cancer education: Effect on knowledge, cancer fatalism, and participation in mobile mammography screening among African-American women

Patricia Jean Washington, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Purpose. To evaluate the effectiveness of a culturally sensitive educational intervention that used an African American lay survivor of breast cancer to increase knowledge of breast cancer, decrease cancer fatalism, and increase participation in mobile mammography screening among African American women. Design. Experimental pretest/posttest design. Setting. Two predominantly African American churches in a large southwestern metropolitan city. Sample. Participants included 93 African American women, 40 years of age and older. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 48) or a control group (n = 45). Methods. Pretest and post-test measures included the Breast Cancer Knowledge Test and the Powe Fatalism Inventory. In addition, demographic and breast screening practices were collected by questionnaire. The intervention group received a breast cancer educational testimonial from an African American lay survivor of breast cancer, who answered questions and addressed concerns, while stressing the importance of taking responsibility for one's own health and spreading disease prevention messages throughout the African American community. The control group viewed the American Cancer Society “Keep In Touch” video prepared specifically for African American women. Participants in both groups were given culturally sensitive educational materials designed to increase knowledge about breast cancer, and were instructed on breast self-examination by an African American registered nurse, using ethnically appropriate breast models. In addition, after the post-test, all eligible participants were given an opportunity to have a free mammogram via a mobile mammography unit parked at the church. Findings. Participants in the intervention group had a significant increase (p = .03) in knowledge of breast cancer and a significant decrease (p = .000) in fatalism scores compared to those individuals in the control group. The intervention group had a 61% participation rate in screening, while the control group had a 39% participation rate in screening. However, the difference was not statistically significant at the .05 level (p = .07). Conclusions. Results demonstrate that culturally sensitive breast cancer education is successful in increasing knowledge and decreasing cancer fatalism. While there was a trend toward behavior change in the intervention group, more research needs to be done in this area.

Subject Area

Nursing|Oncology|Public health|Black studies|Womens studies|Health education|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Washington, Patricia Jean, "Culturally sensitive cancer education: Effect on knowledge, cancer fatalism, and participation in mobile mammography screening among African-American women" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9940681.