Breast cancer beliefs and behaviors at the San Francisco General Hospital

Kim Felder Rhoads*, Judith A. Luce, Mary M. Knudson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study compared an ethnically mixed population of lower socioeconomic status women regarding their breast cancer beliefs, surgical decision making, sources of information, reactions to the diagnosis, and use of support groups. A 20-item oral survey was administered to a convenience sample recruited at the San Francisco General Hospital breast clinic during 1997. Data were analyzed by chi-square analysis with stratification according to age, ethnicity, education, and language. Corrections were made for small frequencies. P values of less than 0.05 were considered significant. The mean age (n = 30) was 56 years (range 39-72 years). Ten participants were African American, 7 Caucasian, 6 Filipino, 4 Chinese, and 3 Latina. Education averaged 12 years. Ten were non-English speakers. Breast cancer beliefs varied by ethnicity, age, and education. Surgical decision making showed that less formally educated women tended to include the doctor in decision making more often. Sources of information varied by English language capacity. Reactions to the diagnosis and use of support groups showed no difference among the categories. Some results of this study corroborate reports of breast cancer beliefs and decision-making styles published in the literature. Differences noted in the study may be explained in part by socioeconomic and ethnic differences between our population and those commonly sampled in the literature. These results suggest the need for further research in multiethnic and low-income populations with breast cancer. They also suggest some important implications for understanding community educational needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Beliefs
  • Breast cancer
  • Health-related behaviors
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Multiethnic


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