Breast Cancer Detection among Women Prisoners in the Southern United States

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The purpose of this study was to describe breast cancer detection practices among women prisoners. Study participants were 75 women aged 18 to 50 who were incarcerated in a prison in the southern United States. A questionnaire was used to elicit information related to their breast cancer detection practices and personal and family history of breast cancer. Participants were also asked to comment about their health concerns. Following the data collection women received a breast cancer education program. Findings revealed that the most frequent method of breast cancer screening was clinical breast examination (n=48, 53.5%), followed by monthly breast self-examination (n=10,14.9%) Ten women were eligible for mammography and only three had a mammogram in the previous three years. Six (6.8%) women reported a personal history of cancer and 17 (22.6%) had family histories of breast cancer. Additional findings revealed that participants had questions and concerns about other women's health issues including fibroid tumors and breast abnormalities. This study supports the need for cancer control programs that are targeted to women in prison.

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