African-American Women's Health and Social Issues

By Catherine Fisher Collins | Go to book overview

3
Exploring Health Issues and Health Status of African-American Women with Emphasis on Cancer

Noma L. Roberson

For the past decade, the African-American female population has captured the attention of researchers, social scientists, health practitioners, and public health professionals who have sought to understand their cultural uniqueness in respect to health care. The needs of African-American women have generated serious concerns and stimulated research on women's issues. Unfortunately, the majority of studies about African-American women have failed to thoroughly investigate various cancer-related issues for this population segment. Rather, studies have focused on issues related to acculturation into the dominant society. Equally important, only a few studies have attempted to explore health issues and health status of African-American women with respect to cancer.

It is the devastating impact of cancer on the African-American female population that warrants attention in this area. In particular, the increase in mortality rates and the poor survival rates have emerged as critical over the past several years. Because the risk of cancer may be strongly associated with lifestyle and behavior, cultural values, and belief systems, researchers have sought to conduct preliminary studies about the causal and/ or contributing factors.

While there may be a number of critical issues about African-American women's plight with health and illness that need attention, three major

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