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Health providers should emphasize breast cancer screening, Wayne State University research finds
Date:7/1/2011

often are less informed about preventive care or less likely to adhere to cancer screening recommendations. Additionally, time constraints may limit patient education efforts, leading to inadequate recommendations for screening, and physician-patient interaction may be culturally or educationally inappropriate for lower-income or minority populations.

To help break down those barriers, along with personal barriers such as patients' fear, or their lack of trust or knowledge, Young said clinicians could be more proactive in communicating with patients to build trust. They also can offer more culturally appropriate health education that includes general information about disease risk and the importance of breast cancer screening, as well as more education about patients' personal breast cancer risk, such as genetic information and specific family history risk.

Clinicians also can make referrals specifically for mammograms, Young said, as African-Americans often expect them to initiate such conversations.

"The physician-patient interaction is extremely important," she said. "Physicians are not only gatekeepers to services; they also can motivate their patients."

Part of what may be hindering such interaction now, Young said, is that practitioners in facilities serving low-income people may be under too much pressure simply to see patients.

"There may be a desire on the part of the physician to be more involved with their patients in terms of educating and communicating with them," she said, "but the constraints of their situation may be limiting their ability to do that."

Still, more proactive practitioners can make a real difference. "African-American women are more likely to have a basal-like subtype of breast cancer that is harder to treat and should be detected early," said Young. "Health providers have an excellent opportunity to reduce mortality by emphasizing the importance of screening."


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Contact: Tom Tigani
tom.tigani@wayne.edu
313-577-1494
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert

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