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Diversity and Inclusion

A work-in-progress resource for faculty, students, and administrators on creating more inclusive and diverse classrooms.

Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs of Arab-American Women Regarding Inherited Cancer Risk

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Mellon, S., Gauthier, J., Cichon, M., Hammad, A., & Simon, M. (2012). Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs of Arab-American Women Regarding Inherited Cancer Risk. Journal Of Genetic Counseling, 22(2), 268-276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10897-012-9546-2  

Abstract: The increasing incidence of breast cancer in the Arab world, coupled with a relatively early age of onset, raises concern for the presence of hereditary risk factors in this population. However, due to potential structural and cultural barriers, Arab Americans make up the smallest percentage of individuals tested for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome in the United States. The objectives of this qualitative pilot focus group of 13 Arab-American women were to explore attitudes, knowledge and beliefs regarding hereditary breast cancer in the Arab-American community in metropolitan Detroit, identify barriers that would prevent women from seeking hereditary cancer screening/testing and determine who women would talk to about inherited cancer. Results indicated that cultural beliefs and personal experiences with cancer influenced the women’s perspectives on hereditary cancer risk. A high level of secrecy about cancer within Arab-American families was present, which may prevent accurate risk assessment and referral for genetic services. Other identified barriers that may influence hereditary risk assessment included stigma, fears and misconceptions of cancer. While these barriers were present, participants also expressed a strong need for education and tailored cancer risk information for their community.