Florida Public Health Review


Publication Date

October 2008


Rural Hispanic females practice breast-self exams (BSE) and other breast health screenings less than women from all other racial or ethnic groups. Questions remain as to why these women do not practice these important breast health behaviors. A qualitative design was used to assess the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and barriers to breast health activities among 288 rural Hispanic women. Results revealed that along with external barriers such as transportation and money, internal barriers (shame of being seen naked, discomfort of touching their own breasts, and lack of knowledge) had a greater effect on their practice of breast health activities. The discussion section advocates for health care educators to emphasize overcoming internal barriers in interventions aimed at rural Hispanic females. The article describes an existing intervention, as well as champions the breast self-exam, as an activity that holds promise as a feasible and cost-effective method for achieving increased early breast cancer detection by rural Hispanic females.