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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Study African American Communities’ Perceptions of Breast Cancer and the Environment

A team of researchers from the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, along with other Columbia-based organizations, have completed a study exploring African American communities’ perceptions of breast cancer and the environment. which was published in Environment International as part of a larger study. The study was led by health promotion, education, and behavior (HPEB) professor and chair Dr. Daniela Friedman, with recent HPEB PhD graduate Dr. Kaleea Lewis leading the focus groups and serving as lead author on the present publication.

With this study, the authors examined effective strategies for communicating accurate and reliable breast cancer risk information to diverse audiences in response to the Institute of Medicine’s call to action recommending the identification of such strategies. Using focus group methodology, the authors explored how African Americans perceive and decipher information related to breast cancer and its relationship to their environment.

The emergent themes reflect the knowledge participants possessed about breast cancer and environmental risk factors, in addition to concerns about the importance of possessing accurate information, and how culturally appropriate health communication strategies can be used to disseminate breast cancer knowledge in the community. Findings from this study can be used for culturally appropriate communication about breast cancer and the environment with African American communities.

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