Breast cancer screening and cultural barriers: Why some women are missing early detection

ABC, Saturday 3 January, 2018

Some women say it’s fate. Others believe in “God’s will”. Then there are those who simply feel uncomfortable talking about their breasts. When it comes to breast cancer screening in culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD), there are varied and complex reasons that can hinder important messages about early detection.

A recent analysis of five studies involving more than 1,700 first-generation Chinese, African, Arabic, Korean and Indian-Australian women found just 19 per cent identified as “breast aware”, and only 27 per cent aged 40 or above had participated in annual clinical breast exams.

Lead researcher Dr Cannas Kwok, who’s been investigating the breast cancer beliefs and attitudes of migrant Australian women since 2005, says the results, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, are concerning.

First medical study on chest binding recently published

The first medical study on chest binding transgender and non-binary people was published last year. 

The researchers hope that the study will provide an initial roadmap for change, educating physicians on the benefits and impacts of binding and allowing those who bind to take charge of their health. They scoured peer-reviewed literature and information from health clinics, LGBTQ organizations, and online community resources, coming up with 28 potential health outcomes from binding. 1,800 respondents answered an online survey with questions ranging from how often they bound, what they used to bind their chests with, and their gender identity.

  • Read more about the study and chest-binding here 
  • Read study abstract here (for full text, see your librarian)

Sexually transmitted virus strongly linked to risk of breast cancer – study

The Guardian, Friday 29 January 2016

Women with abnormal cells on their cervix owing to certain types of human papillomavirus infection are at higher risk of developing breast cancer later in life, the findings from a new study suggest.

An expert in medical genetics with the University of Newcastle, Prof Rodney Scott, said it appeared HPV accounted for a “very small” proportion of women who developed breast cancer at a younger age. “But given the number of women presenting with breast cancer overall, it is important for further studies to be carried out to prove a relationship,” he said.

Read more here