State of Mind Can Matter With Mammograms

Emotions and attitudes influence whether minority women go for screening

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MONDAY, April 26, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Personal attitudes are among the factors that may help explain why minority women in the United States are less likely to go for screening mammograms, says a study in the April 26 online issue of Cancer.

Previous research had found the disparity and cultural differences and socioeconomic status were among the causes believed responsible.

This new study of 1,364 women by Columbia University and Long Island University researchers concluded that minority women's health and cancer beliefs, along with their emotional attitudes, influenced their mammography screening rates, even after factoring in ethnicity and socioecnomic status.

For example, women were less likely to go for screening mammography if they believed that cancer is caused by a bruise or a sore or that conventional breast cancer treatments were worse than the disease itself.

Stress, embarrassment and other emotional factors also had a strong negative influence on whether women went for screening mammography.

"Interventions designed to increase screening mammography among minority women might be more profitably aimed towards modifiable cognitive beliefs and emotional experiences pertaining to mammogram utilization, rather than towards less mutable background characteristics such as education or income," the study authors wrote.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about screening mammograms.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, April 26, 2004

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