The Effects of Physician Race and Intervention Style On Encouraging Breast Cancer Screening Among African American Women

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

B. Jo Hailey

Advisor Department



Incidence rates of breast cancer have been increasing among American women for more than twenty years. Despite the increase in incidence, the mortality rate due to breast cancer has remained relatively stable among all American women. However, for African American women, the mortality rate has increased. Because there is no cure for breast cancer, survival depends on early detection and treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends that women screen for breast cancer by use of breast self-examination (BSE), clinical breast examination (CBE), and mammography. Research has shown that women do not participate in screening procedures as recommended by the American Cancer Society. A number of barriers and facilitators for screening have been identified. Physician recommendation or referral has been noted to be a strong facilitator. There is evidence that these barriers and facilitators may vary by race. Research has also indicated that screening interventions tailored for African American women have been effective for encouraging breast cancer screening among this population. This study examines the role of a recommending physician's race in comparison to intervention style (tailored for African American women versus non tailored) in encouraging participation in breast cancer screening among African American women. Results indicate that there were no significant differences between an African American physician and a Caucasian physician for encouraging CBE and mammography. However, participants were much more likely to report having performed BSE after recommendation by an African American physician. Results also indicate no significant differences between a tailored and non-tailored intervention for encouraging screening. This study provides a beginning for understanding effective ways of encouraging breast cancer screening among African American women. With an increase in screening, breast cancer among African American is more likely to be detected at an early stage, thus roving the chances for survival.