Publication Date

5-1-2007

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Jayne Cohen

Second Advisor

Phyllis M. Connolly

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to identify barriers to mammogram screening among women who are homeless. Knowing the barriers to mammogram screening will be useful to advanced practice nurses for it provides insight to understanding the perceived susceptibility, benefits, and barriers of women potentially amendable to intervention. Data sources: A descriptive survey was used with a convenience sample of 41 women who were homeless, between the ages of 20-70 years, and agreed to participate in this study. The research was conducted at two homeless shelters in an urban county in Northern California. Findings: Findings reflected positive perceptions recognizing the benefits of mammogram screenings, and minimal concern about potential negative aspects of having mammogram screenings. Additional data indicated that the sample believed they were less likely to get breast cancer during their life. The majority had no fmancial resources for a mammogram and did not know how to obtain a mammogram. However, if a free mammogram was available, 95% responded that they would take advantage of this essential screening test. Conclusions: Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for all racial and ethnic populations in the United States. Since 1991, the National Health Care for the Homeless Council has integrated a human rights viewpoint to assure healthcare for "everyone" (National Health Care for the Homeless Council, 2006). Therefore, it is up to the community and healthcare providers to make sure that everyone, including women who are homeless, have access to mammography screening by eliminating barriers that prevent access. Implication for practice: Advanced practice clinicians, with their vast knowledge of community resources, must advocate for everyone, including women who are homeless, to promote access to mammography screening. The goal is to eliminate barriers that prevent this population from having a valuable screening procedure.

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