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Impacts of Religious-Related Factors on Breast Cancer Screenings for NYC Muslim American Women


Assistant Professor Sameena Azhar has recently published an article which asserts the necessity of services like breast and cervical cancer screenings to be better tailored toward the needs of Muslim American women in response to the impacts the women face due to their religious beliefs.

The article, titled “Associations between Spiritual Health Locus of Control, Perceived Discrimination and Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening for Muslim American Women in New York City,” was published in Clinical Breast Cancer. Co-authors with Azhar are Laura C.Wyatt, Vaidehi Jokhakar, Shilpa Patel, Victoria H.Raveis, Simona C.Kwon, and Nadia S.Islam.

Read the abstract below:


We sought to understand the impacts of religion-related factors, namely perceived discrimination and spiritual health locus of control, on breast and cervical cancer screening for Muslim American women.


A total of 421 Muslim American women were surveyed at baseline of a breast and cervical cancer screening intervention, measuring discrimination through the Perceived Ethnic Discrimination Questionnaire (PED-Q), a 17-item scale measuring perceived interpersonal racial/ethnic discrimination; and spiritual beliefs through the Spiritual Health Locus of Control Scale, a 13-item scale measuring the link between control over one’s health with a connection to religious beliefs. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to determine factors associated with an up-to-date mammogram and Pap test.


Most women preferred to receive medical care from a healthcare provider of their same gender (75.2%) and same race, ethnicity or religion (62.1%). The middle age group (50–59) and a lower God’s Grace Spiritual Health Locus of Control subscale were associated with up-to-date mammogram. Younger age, lower education, higher Exclusion/Rejection subscale, and lower Spiritual Life/Faith Subscale were associated with an up-to-date Pap test.


The spiritual beliefs of Muslim American women impact their likelihood of obtaining breast and cervical cancer screenings. Therefore, these services need to be better tailored to match these needs, for example, by ensuring that Muslim American women have access to healthcare providers of their same gender, race, ethnicity or religion.


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