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Breast Cancer Experiences among Korean American Women: A Qualitative Approach

Jieun Lee, Health Policy & Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, 7th floor, Baltimore, MD 21205, 410-614-3454, jilee@jhsph.edu and Hee-Soon Juon, PhD, Dept. of Health Policy & Management, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene, 624 N. Broadway, 7th floor, Baltimore, MD 21205.

Objectives. The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the breast cancer experience and previous health practices among Korean American women (KAW). Method. Focus groups were conducted with KAW of breast cancer experience. Study participants were recruited through a Korean newspaper advertisement and flyers posted in Korean churches, Korean groceries, senior housing and beauty salons in Maryland. Eight focus groups consisted 11 KAW ages 42 to 69 years (9 breast cancer survivors and 2 family members with breast cancer patients). Findings. Most KAW found breast cancer themselves either accidentally or through breast self-exam (BSE). Most KAW were not getting regular breast cancer screening. Reason for not having annual screening varied. These included beliefs of low risk of getting breast cancer, confidence in their health, lack of knowledge on cancer screening guideline, misconception of family history, no physician’s recommendation, no time, and no insurance. The role of primary care provider is to be the main source of information on breast cancer in terms of treatment, decision-making and second opinion. Conclusions. The finding points out that KAW lack a general understanding about breast health, mammogram, and the benefits of early detection. Therefore, there is a need to provide effective and culturally sensitive breast cancer educational programs to improve cancer prevention strategies for this underserved population.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Breast Cancer Programs, Community Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
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.

Emerging Health Issues within Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Communities

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA