Using focus groups to understand breast cancer screening beliefs and behaviors among Asian Indian women
Background: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and number one killer of Asian American women. Asian-Indian women living in the U.S. have a higher breast cancer incidence than Asian-Indian women in India and data in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom report that Southern Asian women have shown increasing rates of breast cancer over time. There is limited research on the root causes for under-utilization of breast cancer screening in Asian Indian (AI) women. The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices of AI women living in the US in relation to breast cancer and breast cancer screening through the use of focus groups.
Method: A qualitative exploratory approach was achieved with focus groups. The focus group meetings were audio-taped, transcribed, and analyzed using constant comparison techniques. During the focus groups, the researchers collected data from 11 AI women between the ages of 42 and 71 years, who lived in the Midwestern U.S. and who shared their experiences with breast cancer screening.
Results: When asked about their perceptions about breast cancer, the emotion of fear was the most prominent within the two focus groups of Asian Indian women. Women participants shared that the role of care providers, family and friends, as well as other personal factors positively influenced their perceptions about breast cancer screening and their actual practices of the screening behavior. Barriers to breast cancer screening were identified as negative experiences, lack of access to screening, and inadequate knowledge about breast cancer screening.
Conclusions: Results of the focus group analysis provide useful information about facilitators and barriers that affect AI women’s breast cancer screening practices in the US.