Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
038 Townshend Hall, 1885 Neil Ave
The Daughter, Sister, Mother Project: Empowering Women and their Health Care Providers to Fight Familial Cancer
For the subset of American women at high risk of breast cancer due to genetic mutations or substantial family history of the disease, risk management can involve a complex range of psychosocial dynamics over an extended period of time. Medical, surgical, and screening methods exist to help high-risk women prevent breast cancer or catch it early, but prior research has made only modest progress in understanding who uses these interventions, why women make the risk-management decisions they do, and how decision-making dynamics vary across race, class, and severity of risk. The Daughter Sister Mother Project aims to address these questions, using mixed methods to understand risk-management decision making among diverse populations of high-risk women. The Project’s initial phase has revealed seven core dynamics that structure women’s thinking about breast cancer risk, understanding of prevention options, and decisions about the use of risk-management methods. Each of these dynamics plays out differently for White and African American women, and for women with different levels of financial resources. In addition, women’s risk-management decisions cannot be accurately characterized as simple yes/no choices, but as consisting of a range of favorable and unfavorable feelings progressing through a non-linear set of stages. This presentation will review the qualitative work that produced these findings by exploring women’s own narratives of risk and prevention, and preview the next set of projects that have emerged from these initial insights.