A survey of barriers to screening for oral cancer among rural Black Americans

Psychooncology. 2014 Mar;23(3):276-82. doi: 10.1002/pon.3415. Epub 2013 Sep 30.


Objective: Research documents a disparity between Black and White Americans in mortality for oral cancer that appears to result in part from behaviors such as lower oral cancer screening among Black Americans. We examined barriers to oral cancer screening among Black Americans.

Methods: We surveyed Black Americans (N = 366) living in rural Florida to identify barriers to getting screened for oral cancer.

Results: Low knowledge/social attention, lack of resources, and fear/defensive avoidance predicted screening intentions, with lack of resources emerging as the largest barrier. Participants also reported that a recommendation from their provider was most likely to increase screening intentions, whereas encountering financial barriers was most likely to decrease screening intentions.

Conclusions: Low knowledge/social attention, lack of resources, and fear/defensive avoidance emerged as independent barriers to oral cancer screening, with the latter two barriers accounting for the most variance in intentions to get screened.

Keywords: Black Americans; barriers; defensive avoidance; health disparities; oral cancer; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors