Breast Cancer and the Asian Community

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month — perfect timing to launch a new study at the Women’s Health Research Institute is launching. Our researchers will be delving into the world of mammography screening and the Asian community.

Our study will examine the uptake of mammography screening by patients attending the Asian Women’s Health Clinic.

This study will employ a questionnaire methodology to explore the knowledge and beliefs among Asian women in the Lower Mainland with regards to mammography screening practices.

Our Goals

1) to determine the proportion of women utilizing the AWHC who receive post-visit mammograms

2) to understand the knowledge and beliefs of women attending the AWHC in regards to mammography screening

3) to uncover the main barriers to mammogram uptake in this particular population.”


Some 47% of Vancouver’s population identify themselves as Asian and nearly half of this group identifies their home language as one of the Asian languages.

Of Asian immigrants, 53% are female, a quarter of whom arrived in Canada within the past five years. While it has been established that Chinese women are less likely to participate in pap and breast cancer screening than their Caucasian counterparts, ethnicity is not a demographic factor recorded in BC’s mammography screening, thus, comparative rates of screening among different ethnic groups in British Colombia are unspecified.

It is reasonable to assume, based on previous literature, that women of Asian descent may be less likely to receive appropriate cancer screening, including mammography, due to socio-cultural and language barriers. While the (Asian Women’s Health Clinic) AWHC initiates mammography screening education, the experiences of staff suggest that a large proportion of AWHC clients for whom mammography is recommended do not actually receive screening.

The objective of the proposed study is to determine the proportion of women utilizing the AWHC who currently receive post-visit mammograms and to identify the specific barriers to mammography screening in this population.

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