5285.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - Board 7

Abstract #14738

Older women veterans and breast cancer screening: Lessons learned from focus groups

Jasmin A Tiro, MPH1, Catherine P Perz, PhD2, Kathleen Pitts, BSN, RNC1, Deborah J del Junco, PhD1, Lori Bastian, MD, MPH3, William A Rakowski, MD, MPH4, and Sally W Vernon, PhD1. (1) School of Public Health, University of Texas - Houston, 1200 Hermann Pressler Drive, Houston, TX 77030, 713-500-9752, jtiro@sph.uth.tmc.edu, (2) Department of Psychology, University of Houston - Victoria, 2506 East Red River, Victoria, TX 77901, (3) Women Veterans Center, VAMC Durham, 508 Fulton Street, Durham, NC 27705, (4) Department of Community Health, Brown University, 97 Waterman Street, Providence, RI 02912

The National Cancer Institute funded a 5-year prospective randomized trial of a Transtheoretical Model-based intervention to increase compliance with mammography screening guidelines in female veterans 52 years of age and over. Focus groups were conducted with two groups of women veterans, ages 53 to 85 years. The purpose of the focus groups was to evaluate the relevance in our study population of previously identified determinants of mammography screening. Women were recruited from a subset of the National Registry of Women Veterans. A sample of 97 potential participants with Houston-area addresses was sent a letter of invitation. Attendance was confirmed for 21 participants (yield=21%) via telephone follow-up. Twenty participants actually attended. Reasons for non-participation included: undeliverable address/unavailable phone number (n=31), had breast cancer or other health limitations (n=11), no transportation available (n=4), would not attend focus groups at night (n=18), and not interested (n=9). Questions posed to the focus groups included benefits and barriers of screening, stage of adoption, and health services experiences. Major themes include: a) a commitment to preventive health practices including mammograms, b) barriers (such as cost, fear, pain, and inconvenience) identified by previous studies did not impede compliance with guidelines, c) non-tangible rather than tangible rewards were cited as important motivators, d) indication of reaching termination stage where mammography screening is an ingrained habit. Since the majority of the women were in maintenance, future focus group research would benefit from prescreening by prior mammography status. These findings will be used in questionnaire and intervention development.

Learning Objectives: 1) Describe benefits and barriers about mammography screening compliance held by older women veterans; 2) Describe recruitment strategy for identifying eligible participants; 3) Use focus group findings to further develop a mailed survey

Keywords: Breast Cancer Screening, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA