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Circle of Sisters: Raising Awareness of Native American Women to Breast Cancer


The Circle of Sisters is a breast cancer education initiative that incorporates free mammography for American Indian women. In two separate but similar initiative-sponsored one-day events, 37 American Indian women underwent screening mammography and experienced a full day of culturally tailored educational activities. Women observed a cooking demonstration, participated in moderate exercise activity, strung beads to learn about the dimensions of breast tumors, and listened to an American Indian breast cancer survivor recount her story of diagnosis and treatment. Significant shifts in opinion included an increase in the understanding that a woman’s chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer increase with age (p=.015) and with never bearing children (p <.001) and that breast cancer can be detected early (p=.043). The percentage of those expressing an intention to get a mammogram every year grew from 81.1% to 94.6%.

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