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Breast Cancer Education for the Deaf Community in American Sign Language

Sean Hickey

Erin L. Merz

Vanessa L. Malcarne

Darlene Clark Gunsauls

Jessica Huang

Georgia R. Sadler

education, community health/home care, breast cancer, women
ONF 2013, 40(3), E86-E91. DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.E86-E91

Purpose/Objectives: To create and evaluate an educational video designed to increase breast cancer-related knowledge and screening behaviors among women who are deaf and use American Sign Language (ASL) as their preferred communication method.

Design: A test-retest survey was used to determine retained knowledge following an intervention with an ASL breast cancer education video.

Setting: Deaf-friendly community settings in southern California.

Sample: 122 women who were deaf with a preference for communicating via ASL.

Methods: Participants completed a knowledge survey to determine their breast cancer screening practices and baseline breast cancer awareness. Participants then viewed a 30-minute video in ASL. Immediately after viewing the video, participants completed an identical knowledge survey. The survey was administered again two months after the initial intervention to determine long-term breast cancer knowledge retention.

Main Research Variables: Age, breast cancer knowledge and screening practices, education, and health insurance.

Findings: At baseline, breast cancer knowledge varied widely and respondents' answered an average of 3 out of 10 questions correctly. Postintervention, respondents answered an average of 8 out of 10 questions correctly, a significant increase from the baseline scores. At the two-month follow-up, respondents answered an average of 6 out of 10 questions correctly, still a significant increase from the baseline scores.

Conclusions: Breast cancer knowledge of women who are deaf increased significantly by viewing an educational video in ASL and most of the new knowledge remained at the two-month follow-up.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses can help improve the Deaf community's (DC's) access to breast cancer-related information by disseminating awareness of this online program.

Knowledge Translation: With this online resource, nurses can more easily initiate discussions to help improve knowledge and screening behaviors in a linguistically and culturally appropriate manner. Improving the DC's access to breast cancer information is of paramount importance to reducing breast cancer morbidity and mortality in the DC.

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