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Using Mammography Screening: Hmong Women’s Perceptions and Beliefs

Author(s): Pang Vang

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Hmong Studies | Hmong Americans | Asian American Studies | Public Health | Breast Cancer screening

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among all women in the United States. Although mammography screening has been shown to be effective in detecting breast cancer, Hmong women, one of the Asian American/Pacific Islander subgroups, have a very low screening rate. The purpose of this study was to explore factors that influence Hmong women‘s willingness to be screened for breast cancer. Grounded Theory methodology guided the analysis of fifteen qualitative interviews with Midwestern Hmong women between the ages of40-64. Regardless of age, length of US residency, and language spoken, the results showed one core theme and three interrelated themes regarding the women‘s decision to seek mammographyscreening. The three interrelated themes of Breast Health Messages, Screening Barriers, and Screening Facilitators can have negative and/or positive influences on the core theme of mammography-screening decision-making processes. The first related theme of Breast HealthMessages included professional and lay breast health messages. The second related theme, Screening Facilitators, included breast health messages from professionals, abnormal findings, social support, risk for getting breast cancer, doctor‘s recommendations, and insurance. The third related theme, Screening Barriers, identified symptomatic health seeking behavior, instrumental barriers, fear, social influence (which included lay breast health messages), use of traditional Hmong healing practices, embarrassment, and perception of breast cancer risk. This study suggested that the healthcare professionals need to use a culturally sensitive and multidisciplinaryapproach to provide breast health education as well as to assess and provide instrumental support, while encouraging social support to influence Hmong women to attain mammography screening.

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