Breast cancer screening beliefs among older Chinese women in Chicago’s Chinatown

Melissa A. Simon, Laura S. Tom, Xinqi Dong

Publication Date: 07/01/2017

Background: Chicago’s Chinatown is home to a sizeable community of first-generation Chinese American immigrants. This qualitative study seeks to describe the attitudes toward, and barriers and facilitators of, breast cancer screening among Chinese women in Chicago’s Chinatown to inform strategies for future interventions.

Methods: We conducted six focus groups among Chinese-speaking adult women aged 45 and older. Focus groups were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for emergent themes.

Results: Forty-seven women participated in focus groups; 10 (21%) had received a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, all participants were foreign-born, and 80% have resided in the United States for over 10 years. Participants expressed a range of breast cancer beliefs, attitudes toward screening, barriers encountered, and facilitators. Some differences were noted between women with cancer and those without. Barriers described include language, time, not wanting to burden their adult children, and transportation. Navigation services and physician recommendation were suggested facilitators to screening.

Conclusions: Our findings have important implications for development of interventions and policies to bolster breast cancer screening among Chinese women. We highlight the need to connect Chinese older adults with resources to navigate the health care system and present opportunities for community stakeholders, researchers, health professionals, and policy makers to improve the health of Chinese Americans.