Minority women and breast cancer screening: The role of cultural explanatory models

Shireen S. Rajaram, Anahita Rashidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Mammography and clinical breast exams are effective secondary prevention techniques for reducing the morbidity and mortality due to breast cancer. Although minority women have higher mortality rates due to breast cancer, they are less likely than white women to use screening procedures. This paper provides a complementary understanding of the use of breast cancer screening among minority women by drawing attention to the role of women's cultural explanatory models (CEMs). CEMs stem from the sociocultural context and involve cultural beliefs and values, personal life experiences, and both biomedical and popular explanations of health and illness. Although women's CEMs may not accord with those of health professionals, they do have an impact on screening behavior. This paper discusses suggestions for addressing these issues in an effort to improve breast cancer screening rates through adopting a cultural relativistic approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-764
Number of pages8
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - 1998


  • Breast cancer
  • Culture
  • Health
  • Minority
  • Prevention
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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