Patient navigation to improve breast cancer screening in Bosnian refugees and immigrants

J Immigr Minor Health. 2012 Aug;14(4):727-30. doi: 10.1007/s10903-011-9539-5.


Refugee women have low breast cancer screening rates. This study highlights the culturally competent implementation and reports the outcomes of a breast cancer screening patient navigation program for refuge/immigrant women from Bosnia. Refugees/immigrant women from Bosnia age 40-79 were contacted by a Serbo-Croatian speaking patient navigator who addressed patient-reported barriers to breast cancer screening and, using individually tailored interventions, helped women obtain screening. The proportion of women up-to-date for mammography was compared at baseline and after 1-year using McNemar's Chi-Square test. 91 Serbo-Croatian speaking women were eligible for mammography screening. At baseline, 44.0% of women had a mammogram within the previous year, with the proportion increasing to 67.0% after 1-year (P = 0.001). A culturally-tailored, language-concordant navigator program designed to overcome specific barriers to breast cancer screening can significantly improve mammography rates in refugees/immigrants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / psychology*
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Refugees / statistics & numerical data