October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Education and preventative screening is important for early detection. (Photo: Taras Grebinets, Getty Images)

USask researchers explore breast cancer screening access for refugee women in Sask

SASKATOON – A University of Saskatchewan (USask) research team is exploring how to increase access to breast cancer screening for Syrian refugee women in Saskatchewan.

The goal of the project is to help nurses design culturally appropriate health promotion tools to increase knowledge about breast cancer and how to perform breast self-examinations and undergo mammograms in preventative efforts. 

“Saskatchewan has recently welcomed a number of Syrian refugees, but because they have not lived in the province long, health-care providers are not familiar with their health knowledge, including their level of education regarding breast cancer,” said Dr. Louise Racine (PhD), USask College of Nursing professor and Transcultural Nurse Scholar whose research focuses on non-Western immigrant and refugee health.

“Nurses need to understand the cultural beliefs of the Muslim culture and the Islamic faith on women’s knowledge, beliefs, behaviours and willingness to perform breast cancer screening before we can create the educational pieces regarding the screening,” Racine said. “Our research will inform us about potential ways to educate Syrian refugee women on breast cancer and prevention.”

The interdisciplinary research team combines expertise in nursing, refugee health, women’s health, global health, and palliative care. It consists of Drs. Racine, Sithokozile Maposa (PhD), and Susan Fowler-Kerry (PhD) from the USask College of Nursing, Dr. Hassan Vatanparast (PhD) from USask’s School of Public Health, and Dr. Isil Andsoy (PhD) of the Department of Nursing at Karabuk University, Turkey.

Once their study in Saskatchewan is complete, the team hopes to receive funding to expand their work in Canada and Turkey. The current study has received funding from Sigma Theta Tau International and the Canadian Nurses Foundation.

The study, Examination of Breast Cancer Screening Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs among Syrian Refugee Women in a Western Canadian Province, can be viewed here.


For more information, contact: 

Kylie Kelso
Communications Officer
USask College of Nursing

Victoria Dinh
USask Media Relations

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