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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 Robins Sadler
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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