BREAST CANCER

Six, two-hour focus groups were conducted with 25 African-American and 17 Hispanic female volunteers in Harlem, NY, between February and May 2002. Three African-American groups were conducted by experienced African-American moderators at the Helen B. Atkinson Center, and three Hispanic groups were conducted by experienced Hispanic moderators at the Community League Center in Harlem. IRB approval for this project was obtained from the City University of New York and the Institute for Cancer Prevention. Administrators at each community health center recruited participants when they came in for clinic visits. Women were also made aware of the project via posters and informational flyers distributed at the centers. The inclusion criteria for this investigation were: Females, aged 40-60 years, African-American or Hispanic racial/ethnic group with no personal history of breast. Graduate student trainees from the City University of New York participated in the groups as data recorders. Participants received $25 for their participation in the focus groups.

The focus group discussions were transcribed from the audiotapes, and data were coded and analyzed for frequencies of relevant content themes using the NUD*IST 5 software for code-based qualitative analysis. Hispanic groups were conducted in Spanish and translated into English after transcription. Coded material was displayed for reflection, revision of coding, and coding onto new categories. NUD*IST 5 allows for the efficient management of non-numerical unstructured data with powerful processes of indexing, searching, and theorizing.
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Focus group discussions were based on a moderator guide consisting of a series of open-ended questions that were designed to address the four study aims, including: 1) determining participant understanding of breast and colorectal cancer risk factors, 2) determining participant perceptions of their personal levels of risk for developing these cancers, 3) determining activities that participants engaged in to reduce their breast and colorectal cancer risk factors, and 4) evaluating participant preferences of four language-appropriate risk communication formats designed to facilitate an understanding of risk of developing breast and colorectal cancers.