How do African-American women think about their families? Does this affect their reactions to and use of tools designed to collect information about family health history?
The collection of family health history information is critical to tailoring cancer prevention and screening recommendations for individual patients. Few Americans collect this information, making it critical to identify the best methods and tools for collection.
Research has shown that women are more likely to collect family health history information than men. In addition, due to disparities in incidence of cancer, it is particularly important for cancer prevention initiatives to reach African Americans. Despite this, most research on the collection of family health history information has focused on white participants.
We are examining how African-American women define family and their understanding of their family-based risk of cancer. We will then investigate how these beliefs affect their use of family health history tools developed for use by the general public. We hope these data will help us understand why those tools might or might not be useful for African-American women, and how to improve them.
In future work, we will collaborate with community-based organizations to encourage the participation of African-American women in family health history initiatives.