Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Health and Kinesiology

First Advisor

Gerald C. Hyner

Committee Chair

Gerald C. Hyner

Committee Member 1

James G. Anderson

Committee Member 2

Vicki Simpson


Early detection of breast and cervical cancer through mammograms and Pap smears can improve survival rates. Muslim women in the United States are faced with traditional beliefs and diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds that may affect their knowledge and perceptions about these cancer screening practices. The objective of this study is to determine the overall health status and participation rates, knowledge, and perceptions about, and barriers to, breast and cervical cancer screening among a controlled population of Muslim women. Data were collected from Muslim women residing at or near Purdue University and the Greater Lafayette area via an online questionnaire survey. Characteristics related to cancer screenings were determined using frequency distributions and logistic regression models were developed to determine barriers and facilitators to screening participation. Factors such as a physician's referral, self-efficacy, at least one physical examination in the last two years in the United States, health status perception, regular physical checkups, a graduate degree, a higher income level, and being between 31-40 years of age were positively related to clinical breast exam participation. Constraints included lack of insurance coverage of examination. Some factors positively related to mammogram screening participation included a previous clinical breast examination, a physician's referral, knowledge about screening and self-efficacy; whereas the odds of a Muslim woman ever having a mammogram were negatively related to her insurance not covering the cost of the screening. Factors that positively influenced undergoing Pap smear tests included having a physical examination, a physician's referral, self-efficacy, and marital status, while major barriers included self-negligence and time constraints. This study did not find any significant factor related to Islamic culture that influenced participation in cancer screenings. The major concern was related to screenings being performed by male practitioners. Muslim women should be made aware of the importance of taking preventive measures against breast and cervical cancer, regular health checkups should be encouraged, and community health clinics should promote such programs. In addition, health care providers should take into consideration the negative feelings of Muslim women related to screenings being performed by male practitioners and consider the use of female Muslim volunteers to serve as patient advocates in the examining room.