Hispanic Women Less Knowledgeable About Breast Cancer and Less Likely to Get Preventive Screenings

Red Bank, NJ - A study conducted on behalf of the not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) shows that Hispanic women are dramatically more likely to misidentify breast cancer as the leading cause of death among women and to report not having enough information about breast cancer. While only 22 percent of all women misidentify breast cancer as the leading killer of women, a near majority of Hispanic women (49%) does so, and younger Hispanic women are close to two and a half times as likely as all women are to make this mistake (58%).


At the same time, only 55 percent of Hispanic women report having had a mammogram in the past year versus 65 percent of all women. An even greater disparity exists among respondents reporting having performed a breast self exam in the past month with only 36 percent of Hispanics saying they had done so versus 58 percent of all women.

"Our study found that 32 percent of Hispanic women say they do not have enough information about breast cancer compared to only 19 percent of all women who feel this way," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of NWHRC. "One problem may be that although Hispanic women are more likely to have had a regular exam than other women they are less likely to have spoken to their health care provider specifically about breast cancer screenings or their risk for developing breast cancer."

The national survey, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, as part of NWHRC's new Learn. Love. Commit. breast cancer awareness campaign, found that 54 percent of Hispanic women reported having spoken to their health care provider about their risk of developing breast cancer versus 63 percent of all women responding to the survey. In addition, Hispanic women were less likely to have spoken to their health care provider about breast self exams (70% versus 83%) and mammograms (66% versus 79%).

"We encourage all women, and particularly Hispanic women, to make sure to talk with their health care providers about this important topic," said Battaglino Cahill.

This lack of knowledge may be contributing to greater worry about the disease. Among all women responding to the survey, 51 percent identified breast cancer as the disease they worry about most. This compares to 66 percent of Hispanic women who worry about breast cancer. In addition, while a majority of survey respondents (83%) report that they are somewhat or very confident that they could survive a diagnosis of breast cancer, Hispanic women (57%) are significantly less likely feel this way.

Learn. Love. Commit.

To empower women with the latest breast cancer information and the confidence to translate that knowledge into action, the National Women's Health Resource Center has launched the Learn. Love. Commit. breast cancer awareness campaign:

  • Learn the facts about breast cancer.

  • Love your body.

  • Commit to regular preventive health screenings.

As part of the Learn. Love. Commit. campaign, the NWHRC has launched a new Breast Health Center on its award-winning Web site, fmxhosting.com/drupal635. Visitors can download a variety of complementary publications including tip cards on mammograms and breast cancer risks (English & Spanish); a National Women's Health Update that explores breast cancer today in terms of screenings, treatment, and prevention; and a tip card on how to properly conduct a breast self-exam (English & Spanish). The online center also includes feature articles on breast cancer, resources and questions/answers with the country's top breast cancer experts.

The Learn. Love. Commit. campaign is supported by an educational grant from Eli Lilly, & Co.

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About the survey:
The 2008 Breast Cancer Awareness Survey is a national telephone survey of 815 women, aged 30-70 years, with an oversample of 114 Hispanic women. The research was conducted by Washington, DC polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research between February 26 and March 9, 2008. The overall margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points, though margins will be higher for subgroups of women.

About the National Women's Health Resource Center:
The not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center is the leading independent health information source for women. NWHRC develops and distributes up-to-date and objective women's health information based on the latest advances in medical research and practice, all of which is reviewed by leading medical specialists in the field. NWHRC believes all women should have access to the most trusted and reliable health information. Information empowers women to make the best decisions to maintain and improve their health and the health of their families.

Contact: Marisa Rainsberger
877-986-9472 x108

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