Perceptions of breast cancer among Arab Israeli women

Orna Baron-Epel, Michal Granot, Siham Badarna, Shirley Avrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The incidence of breast cancer is increasing among Arab Israeli women, yet few Arab women over the age 50 take advantage of free mammography available to them. In this study we attempted to identify social and cultural aspects of the Arab Israeli woman's life that may reduce screening attendance for early detection of breast cancer. This qualitative study consisted of 6 focus groups. The fundamental theme identified as a barrier to prevention behavior was the role of the Arab woman in society expressed as marrying, having children and being totally committed to her family. In this model, without these roles her life is purposeless and her place in society is lost. The women perceived the chain of events that begins with screening for breast cancer as possibly resulting in cancer diagnosis and having breast cancer will lead to an inability to fulfill female roles. This feedback mechanism inherent in the chain of events may be the cause of the low rates of compliance in performing early detection and mammography. Interventions aimed at increasing the rate of Arab women's performance of mammography should take these issues into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages16
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • Arab women
  • Breast cancer
  • Mammography
  • Prevention
  • Women's role

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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