Sister, Give Me Your Hand: a Qualitative Focus Group Study on Beliefs and Barriers to Mammography Screening in Black Women During the COVID-19 Era

Vivian J. Bea, Bonnie Jerome-D’Emilia, Francesse Antoine, Plyshette Wiggins, Diane Hyman, Evelyn Robles-Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims/Purpose: To evaluate current day challenges and beliefs about breast cancer screening for Black women in two diverse northeast communities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Background: Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women in the USA. Although Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, they suffer a higher mortality. Early detection of breast cancer can be accomplished through routine screening mammography, yet the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on mammography screening barriers and perception in minority communities is uncertain. Methods: Five focus group interviews were conducted as the first phase of a mixed method study across two heterogeneously diverse locations, Camden, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York. Results: Thirty-three women participated in this study; sixteen women were recruited at the New Jersey location and seventeen at the New York location. Only two thirds of the women stated that they had received a mammogram within the last 2 years. The major themes were binary: I get screened or I do not get screened. Subthemes were categorized as patient related or system related. Conclusions: Our findings on factors that affect breast cancer screening decisions during the COVID-19 era include barriers that are related to poverty and insurance status, as well as those that are related to medical mistrust and negative healthcare experiences. Community outreach efforts should concentrate on building trust, providing equitable digital access, and skillfully addressing breast health perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1466-1477
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of racial and ethnic health disparities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • African American women
  • Black women
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast cancer screening
  • Breast cancer screening barriers
  • Breast disparities
  • Breast health
  • COVID-19 era
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Cancer prevention
  • Disparities
  • Focus groups
  • Mammography screening
  • Social determinants of health


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