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Health Communication and Breast Cancer Among Black Women : Culture, Identity, Spirituality, and Strength

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Health Communication and Breast Cancer among Black Women: Cancer, Identity, Spirituality, and Strength is the culmination of an exploratory study that used autoethnography, focus groups, and personal interviews to investigate what Gatison has coined “the trifecta of strength through the lens of Black feminist thought and Womanist ideology”. This trifecta of strength is built upon three significant sociocultural narratives that pervade the lived experience of Black female breast cancer survivors. First, narratives that relate to pink ribbon awareness and survivorship culture; second, that of religion and spirituality, specifically Christian lingo or jargon; and third, the African American cultural phenomenon of strong Black womanhood. The rhetoric of survivorship, war, strength, faith, self-sacrifice, and stoicism that surrounds this trifecta of strength is a double-edged sword as it creates a positive coping mechanism for hope and perseverance, while at the same time it creates a silence that can have a negative influence on health care decisions, quality of life and mortality rates in Black women. For those interested in addressing health disparities in Black women, this book provides valuable information for reconstructing and rebranding strength narratives that create a space for accepting vulnerability and a culture of rest and healing for Black women. Effective health communication messages that reflect the nuances of Black women’s lived experience are crucial to many fields and disciplines from public health practitioners, medical researchers, health communication scholars, and clergy, to grassroots health care advocates, family, and friends.

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