An intervention study on screening for breast cancer among single African-American women aged 65 and older

Prev Med. 2002 May;34(5):536-45. doi: 10.1006/pmed.2002.1016.


Background: Older African-American women with single marital status are least likely to use screening procedures. This study aimed to evaluate a breast screening intervention program conducted in this population.

Methods: Ten public housing complexes were randomly assigned to either the intervention or the control group. African-American women aged 65 and over were recruited into the study if they were widowed, divorced, separated, or never married and did not have a history of breast cancer (n = 325). The intervention program was delivered by lay health educators at the participant's apartment and was designed to increase knowledge about breast screening, reduce psychological problems, and increase support from significant others. Breast-screening-related cognition and behavior were measured at baseline and at 1 and 2 years postintervention.

Results: Comparisons of the preintervention and postintervention measurements showed that while the proportion of women who had a clinical breast examination or mammogram in the preceding year was decreased at 1 year postintervention in the control group, it was increased in the intervention group. However, the differences did not reach a significant level. No consistent patterns could be found in changes of breast self-examination and variables in knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. When analyses were restricted to women whose significant others had provided information or help on breast screening, results were better, but the differences between the intervention and control groups still did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusions: These results did not suggest significant effects of an intervention program that used lay health educators to promote breast cancer screening in older single African-American women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Self-Examination
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Mass Screening*
  • Women's Health