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Breast cancer and screening information needs and preferred communication medium among Iranian immigrant women in Toronto

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Abstract

Few studies have investigated what information women from minority immigrant groups need about breast cancer and screening. Nor has much research been conducted about how such women would prefer to receive this information. Mere translation of breast cancer and screening information from generic materials, without considering and respecting women’s unique historical, political, and cultural experiences, is insufficient. This study explored breast cancer and screening information needs and preferred methods of communication among Iranian immigrant women. A convenience sample of 50 women was recruited and interviewed over a 4‐month period (June–September 2008); all resided in Toronto Canada, and had no history of breast cancer. Tape‐recorded interviews were transcribed and analysed using a thematic analysis technique. While generic breast health communication focusing on physiological risk information meets some of the needs of Iranian immigrant women, results showed that the needs of this group go beyond this basic information. This group is influenced by historical, sociopolitical, and cultural experiences pre‐ and post‐immigration. Their experiences with chemical war, unsafe physical environment (air and water pollution), and their sociopolitical situation appear to have limited their access to accurate and reliable breast cancer and screening information in their homeland. Moreover, the behavioural and psychosocial changes they face after immigration appear to have a strong influence on their breast cancer and screening information needs. Considering their limited time due to their multiple demands post‐migration, multi‐media methods were highly preferred as a communication means by this group. The results of this study can be used to guide the design and implementation of culturally sensitive breast health information. For instance, video presentations conducted by a trusted Iranian healthcare professional focusing on socioculturally relevant breast cancer risk factors, symptoms, and screening methods, as well as a list of available breast health resources, could improve Iranian women’s knowledge and uptake of breast health practices.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ryerson University, Faculty of Community Services, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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