Breast Cancer Risk Perceptions Among Underserved, Hispanic Women: Implications for Risk-Based Approaches to Screening

Jessica Austin, Sarah M. Jenkins, Vera J. Suman, Jhenitza P. Raygoza, Jennifer L. Ridgeway, Aaron Norman, Crystal Gonzalez, Valentina Hernandez, Karthik Ghosh, Bhavika Patel, Celine M Vachon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Understanding factors that shape breast cancer risk perceptions is essential for implementing risk-based approaches to breast cancer detection and prevention. This study aimed to assess multilevel factors, including prior screening behavior, shaping underserved, Hispanic women’s perceived risk for breast cancer. Methods: Secondary analysis of survey data from Hispanic women (N = 1325, 92% Spanish speaking, 64% < 50) enrolled in a large randomized controlled trial. Analyses were performed in two cohorts to account for the role of age on screening guideline recommendations (< 50 and 50 +). For each cohort, we examined differences in three common measures of perceived risk of breast cancer (percent lifetime, ordinal lifetime, comparative) by participant factors with chi-square or Kruskal–Wallis tests, as appropriate. Multivariate analyses examined the association between mammography history with percent perceived lifetime risk (outcome > 10 vs ≤ 10%). Results: Overall, 75% reported a lifetime risk between 0 and 10%, 96% rated their ordinal risk as “not high,” and 50% rated their comparative risk as “much lower.” Women < 50 with a family history of breast cancer reported significantly higher levels of perceived risk across all three measures. Among women 50 +, those reporting lower levels of perceived risk were significantly more likely to be Spanish speaking. No significant association was observed between mammography history and percent lifetime risk of breast cancer. Conclusion: Factors shaping breast cancer risk perceptions differ by age. Prior screening may play less of role in constructing risk perceptions. Research is needed to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies to improve implementation of risk-based screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Breast cancer
  • Hispanics
  • Risk perceptions
  • Screening
  • Underserved

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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