An applied research intervention: breast cancer and preventive services in African American women

Health Promot Pract. 2013 Sep;14(5):732-40. doi: 10.1177/1524839912464773. Epub 2012 Nov 19.


Introduction: The Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results Program 2000-2006 data reported that African American women experienced a higher incidence of early-onset invasive breast cancer and in situ breast cancer in comparison with other racial/ethnic groups. Of the total of 25,100 cases reported; in situ breast cancer represented 6,460 cases and invasive breast cancer represented 18,640 cases. This intervention focused on women younger than 40 years to increase understanding and the utilization of preventive services.

Method: Over a course of 10 months, the researcher designed, implemented, and evaluated an evidence-based breast cancer course intervention integrating the health belief model. The methodology was implemented in 4-week cohorts through in-class and asynchronous learning-centered environments tailored to African American women aged 20 to 39 years at 2-year and 4-year postsecondary schools and culturally relevant community-based organizations.

Results: The intervention was statistically significant, improving understanding of breast cancer in African American women in a classroom environment, p < .039, and in an online environment, p < .05. The study compared ages 20 to 29 and 30 to 39, finding high agreement and no statistically significance difference related to age about the use of preventive services, importance of preventive services, and tailoring preventive service for younger women.

Conclusions: The intervention demonstrated the implementation of an evidence-based breast cancer intervention that improved understanding of breast cancer in this race/ethnicity. Additionally, there is a strong need to improve preventive services through the integration of evidence-based educational interventions targeting women of African American prior to age 40.

Keywords: access to health care; behavior change; breast cancer; cancer prevention and control; cultural competence; evaluation methods; health disparities; health education; minority health; program planning and evaluation; quality assurance/quality improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Universities*