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Health Services


Kourtney Nieves


Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Latinas. Several barriers persist when accessing health care and utilization of healthcare services such as annual mammograms, leading to a late-stage diagnosis or death related to breast cancer illness. Consequently, this study was important to further examine potential risk factors such as beliefs, cultural context, health insurance, and socioeconomic status for this population. Further, gaps in research provide limited evidence of risk factors adversely influencing high morbidity and mortality incidence. The purpose was to focus on disparities in breast cancer experiences within Latina communities in the United States. A qualitative foundation used grounded theory with the Health Belief Model to guide the questions. The study research questions explored(i) access to breast care services that encourage early breast cancer detection; (ii) access to breast care diagnostics such as exams, mammograms, and biopsies; and (iii) views of availability to breast care exams, diagnostics and treatment options improving health outcomes. The method of data analysis used coding to analyze content and classify data for patterns and themes. A total of 12 Latina participants were recruited. The key results conclude the participants perceived the disease, as serious leading to death; and cultural context, insurance or socioeconomic status may or may not have assumed a level of susceptibility to the disease. In conclusion, this qualitative study demonstrates the need to further understand risk factors that influence high breast cancer morbidity and mortality outcomes among Latinas. These factors can then be translated into program interventions specific to the needs of Latinas. Future research is recommended to design effective interventions that reduce breast cancer incidence. Finally, the social change implication of this study demonstrated results that can contribute to the existing literature on health disparities, compliance motivations to diagnostic care, and long-term treatment of breast cancer among Latinas in the United States. The social implication of the findings can also be useful to identify potential risk factors to be studied in women of other vulnerable populations.