Lay Epistemology of Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Among Appalachian Women

Rachael A. Record, Allison M. Scott, Sara Shaunfield, M. Grace Jones, Tom Collins, Elisia L. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Recent changes to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines for breast cancer screening have contributed to increased patient uncertainty regarding the timing and appropriateness of screening behaviors. To gain insight into the lay epistemology of women regarding breast cancer screening practices, we conducted in-depth, face-to-face interviews with 24 adult women living in a medically underserved Appalachian region. We found that women were unaware of breast cancer screening guidelines (i.e., start age, frequency, stop age). Qualitative analysis revealed two lay epistemological narratives establishing (a) uncertain knowledge and ambiguity about breast cancer screening guidelines but certain knowledge of other women’s experiences with breast cancer diagnoses, and (b) feelings of knowing one’s own body best and seeing the value in “overscreening” to save even one life. Our findings have theoretical and practical implications for scholars and practitioners seeking to improve knowledge or behavior regarding adherence to breast cancer screening recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1120
Number of pages9
JournalHealth communication
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was supported by cooperative agreement number 1U48DP001932-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.


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