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Knowledge and beliefs of breast cancer among elderly women in Puerto Rico

Knowledge and beliefs of breast cancer among elderly women in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal 20(4): 351-359

This is the first national study of breast-cancer knowledge, beliefs, and early detection practices among elderly women (65+) in Puerto Rico. Cancer breast examination (CBE) was the most common early detection practice, followed by the mammogram, with breast self exam (BSE) a distant third. The primary reasons most often cited for never having a mammogram related to both personal and external factors: not having symptoms, negligence or forgetfulness, and not having a physician's referral. No statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) was found between knowledge and early detection practices. Conversely, beliefs had an impact on preventive behavior. Those who had less misconceptions were most likely to have had a CBE or a mammogram. Bivariate analysis demonstrated that age was associated with performing a BSE once or twice monthly, ever having a mammogram, and having a mammogram in the past two years. A higher socioeconomic status was associated to performing BSE and ever having had a mammogram. Education correlated positively to ever having a mammogram or having a mammogram in the two years prior to the interview. Factors that explained compliance with a mammogram in the last two years included referral from a physician, owning a car, and receiving information after menopause on breast cancer from a health care provider. A gynecological visit increased the probability of having had a mammogram during the last two years. Logistic regression determined that a referral from a physician was the most important factor for mammogram compliance when a combination of variables were considered.

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Accession: 046508118

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PMID: 11845667

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