Purpose. This study aimed to develop health messages that help African American breast cancer survivors reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in the home. African American women are disproportionately impacted by tobacco exposures and cancer mortality. Cigarette smoking decreases functional status (e.g., fatigue, pain) and increases complications related to breast reconstruction and the risk for secondary cancers. Understanding knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to tobacco and sociocultural and environmental influences may inform the development of messages that protect breast cancer survivors from the harm of smoke. Methods. We used a sequential design to conduct semi-structured interviews, photovoice interviews, and focus groups that informed message development related to secondhand smoke exposure. African American women breast cancer survivors aged 30-65 years, who smoked cigarettes or cigars in past 30 days or lived with a smoker, and were low income were invited to participate. Interviews assessed knowledge related to breast reconstruction and the prevention of secondary cancers; perceived susceptibility and severity related to the harms of tobacco; subjective norms; attitudes toward using tobacco and implementing smokefree home rules; perceived benefits and complexity of implementing smokefree home rules; and intentions to adopt smokefree home rules. Participants who completed the interviews (n=12) were invited to use photovoice to capture the socio-environmental context of survivorship and women’s motivations for making changes in tobacco exposure (n=9). Data from the interviews and photovoice were used to develop 16 messages related to secondhand smoke exposure. An iterative process was used to obtain feedback on each message (e.g., The smoke from cigarettes, pipes, and cigars of any kind is the same. Keep your home safe from secondhand smoke) from focus group participants (n=12). Results. Forty percent of African American women breast cancer survivors who completed the interviews reported current smoking and 54% had expired CO levels > 7 ppm. Most women felt that cigarettes cause some harm, but also stated that no one knows how each person is affected. Some women felt that occasional smoking was not harmful, that secondhand smoke was as bad as smoking, and that it is a gamble as to whether anything would happen if exposed to tobacco smoke. Some women expressed that smoking did not affect their breast reconstruction surgery while others felt that it slowed the healing process, or were unclear about its effects on surgery. Women who provided feedback on the messages during focus groups stated that people say secondhand smoke causes cancer, but they were unclear of its effects. Women felt that health messages needed to convey the type of cancers caused by secondhand smoke. Conclusions. Our study provided helpful information that informed the development of messages that can be used to increase awareness of the harms of secondhand smoke.
Citation Format: Nakita Lovelady, Pebbles Fagan, Camille Hart, Michael Preston, Tiffany Haynes, Ronda Henry-Tillman. Using qualitative methods to develop health messages aimed to reduce secondhand smoke exposure among African American breast cancer survivors in a rural state [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2019 Sep 20-23; San Francisco, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl_2):Abstract nr A018.