Author(s): Western Journal of Medicine; Bertha Mo, PhD, MPH, San Francisco, California

Date Authored: September 1, 1992

Chinese women in pink
Photo by Stanley Zimny (cc license).


Although breast cancer rates among Chinese women are lower than among white women, breast cancers and other breast diseases often go undetected and untreated in Chinese women. Cultural values with respect to modesty and sexuality, especially in unmarried women, partly account for a Chinese lack of attention to breast health. In addition, institutional barriers, such as an unavailability of information in Chinese languages, few female physicians, and an absence of educational campaigns, contribute to Chinese women’s neglect of breast health. This article provides insight into the attitudes and cultural and institutional barriers that must be overcome if Chinese women in America are to achieve optimal health.

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