Breast cancer is the most common malignancy afflicting women, with an estimated 1 out in 8 U.S. women diagnosed during their lifetime. Screening for breast cancer can reduce mortality through early cancer detection. Lack of knowledge is an important barrier leading to low screening rates. Given that the Arab American population has grown approximately 47% since 2000, this study was designed to assess breast cancer knowledge and screening barriers in an Arab American community.METHODS:
Following (Not Regulated/Exempt) determination by the Institutional Review Board (Michigan) a survey was distributed through ACCESS, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, in Dearborn, MI.RESULTS:
175 Arab American adults participated in the study: 100 healthy women, 50 breast cancer women survivors and 25 healthy men. Deficiencies were noted in knowledge around cancer presentation and racial and ethnic differences in relative risk of disease. 72% of healthy women had a high level of knowledge, compared to 58% in survivors and 48% in men. Additionally we noted that 56% of healthy women controls over the age of 40 have not had a screening mammogram in the past 2 years with leading causes being: lack of health insurance, absence of family history and absence of symptoms.CONCLUSION:
With the growing presence of Arabs in American communities, it is important that local physicians are aware in their medical knowledge gap to better serve this population. This study highlights some of these deficiencies especially the failure to adequately educate patients and their families while they are going through treatment.