Author(s): Sylvie A. Akohoue, Donna Kenerson, Zudi-Mwak Takizala, Katina Beard, Marilyn Burress, Helen Pinkerton, Jianguo Liu, Kushal Patel, Margaret Hargreaves
Objective: Minority groups constitute one of the nation’s highest cancer risk groups. Historically, these groups have not been adequately informed about cancer, its prevention and/or treatment. The purpose of this study was to examine participants’ receipt of cancer screening and to explore perceptions of barriers to and facilitators of cancer screening. Methods: A two-part study design consisting of a survey and focus group was conducted among African Americans residents of neighborhoods geographically defined as low-income areas of Chattanooga, Memphis, and Nashville in the state of Tennessee. The survey was administered to 1071 participants, and 12 focus groups were conducted with a total of 112 participants, with both sets of participants being residents of similarly defined underserved communities served by the community health centers. Results: Overall, 51% of surveyed respondents were females; the majority (75%) had a yearly income of less than $25,000; and 67% reported 12 years of education or less. Most surveyed respondents had a family history of cancer. More than 30% and 64% of male respondents over 50 years old did not receive prostate cancer and colorectal cancer screening, respectively; 58% of women 50 years and older were not screened for colorectal cancer; 28% of women over 40 years old did not receive breast cancer screening. Barriers to cancer screening included: lack of information about cancer screening and treatments, cost of cancer treatment and fear. The need for more information about cancer and cancer treatment, as well as the involvement of churches to increase cancer screening awareness was identified as facilitators. Conclusion: This study provides information into the structural and psychological barriers in cancer screening. It describes the self-reported prevalence/frequency of screening among men and women in our target population, and the associated facilitators to screening.
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