The purpose of this study was to identify cultural models of breast cancer held by Saudi women and to explore how these may influence early detection and treatment-seeking behaviors. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews with breast cancer survivors (n=20) from two Western cities in Saudi Arabia. Respondents were recruited through social networking, using purposive, snowball sampling. Illness narratives elicited during interviews were transcribed, coded and then analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach. Results suggest that fatalism, perceived threats to traditional role fulfillment, and a preference for traditional therapies commonly mark the breast cancer experiences of Saudi women, influencing their early detection and treatment-seeking behaviors. A more nuanced understanding of emic viewpoints could help to improve public health messaging and intervention strategies in Saudi Arabia.

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Sinky, T, M. Cheyney, and M. Dolcini. (2015). “If it is written by Allah, there is nothing that can stop it”: Saudi Women’s Breast Cancer Narratives. Health, Culture and Society.8(2):59-74.