Predictors of breast cancer screening in Asian and Latina University students
Preventative screening in the form of clinical breast examinations remains among the best protections against breast cancer. Despite the benefits that regular examinations confer, many women fail to obtain screening tests. Because ethnic minority women are particularly unlikely to undergo regular screening, and experience increased mortality and morbidity as a result, it is imperative that researchers identify the factors that predict screening behavior among these populations of women. The present study examined predictors of breast cancer screening (clinical breast examinations) in a sample of Asian and Latina university students (N = 240). Participants completed a self-report instrument that assessed breast cancer screening and a variety of potential predictors primarily identified from the existing literature. Logistic regression analyses revealed that sexual intercourse experience was the strongest predictor of cancer screening among Latinas, with sexually active women five times more likely to have undergone screening than their sexually inexperienced counterparts. Cancer-related knowledge and perceived barriers to screening also predicted screening behavior among this group of women. Among Asian women, age, sexual intercourse experience, and perceived barriers to cancer screening predicted whether or not women had undergone a clinical breast exam. Interestingly, and contrary to expectation, acculturation did not emerge as a significant predictor of screening behavior in either group.
Preventative screening in the form of regular breast examinations remains one of the best protections against breast cancer. The medical literature strongly recommends that women conduct monthly self-examinations and undergo a clinical breast examination every one to three years beginning at age 20; beginning at age 40, women are encouraged to continue monthly self-examinations, obtain an annual clinical breast examination, and undergo a mammogram every one to two years (American Cancer Society, 2005b).
Despite the benefits that regular examinations confer, survey data indicate that sizeable numbers of women in the United States do not obtain clinical breast examinations on a regular basis (American Cancer Society, 2005a). Ethnic minority women, particularly Asians and Latinas, are especially unlikely to undergo regular screening for breast cancer, and may suffer increased mortality and morbidity as a result of delayed detection and treatment (Durvasula, Regan, Ureno, & Howell, 2006; National Center for Health Statistics, 1996).
Given the clear utility of clinical breast examinations in the early detection of breast cancer, and the low usage rates of this screening procedure by Asian and Latina women, researchers increasingly have sought to identify the factors implicated in cancer screening behavior among these groups of women. Several putative predictors have been examined, including (lower) acculturation, (lack of) knowledge about breast cancer, (limited) access to health care, (lower) socioeconomic status, and a number of health-related beliefs. Among Asian women, for example, research generally finds that higher rates of breast cancer screening are associated with various indices of acculturation, including English language proficiency (Lee, Lee, & Stewart, 1996), duration of residency in the United States (Yu, Hong, & Seeto, 2003), and education level (Yu, Kim, Chen, & Brintnall, 2001). A similar association between acculturation and breast cancer screening behavior has been observed among Latina...