Public Service Announcements Are Effective in Getting Black Women to Screen for Breast Cancer

While African American women are less likely than White women to suffer from breast cancer, Black women are more likely than their White peers to die from the disease. Part of the reason for the higher death rate, may be that Black women have not been made aware of the value of breast cancer screenings and preventive care.

lumpkins100A new study by Crystal Lumpkins, an assistant professor of strategic communications and an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Kansas, finds that public service announcements targeted at African American women can be effective in increasing the awareness of Black women on screenings and preventive steps. Dr. Lumpkins study examined the Every Women Counts campaign initiated by the California Department of Health in 2006. The campaign used highly respected Black women such as Maya Angelou and Eartha Kitt to educate women on breast cancer.

The campaign led to more than 190,000 women receiving breast or cervical cancer screenings and 7,000 of them were treated for cancer. Professor Lumpkins stated, “Culturally grounded messages disseminated through appropriate channels such as direct marketing materials (tailoring) or mobile advertising (targeting), for instance, have the potential to break through prevalent barriers among African-Americans.”

Dr. Lumpkins is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she majored in broadcast journalism. She holds a master’s degree from Webster University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in strategic communication from the University of Missouri.

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