Q. I'm having trouble finding resources related to breast cancer in African American women in West Philly

I've looked in PubMed but can't find anything.



Regarding primary and secondary sources, take a quick look at the following page: http://www.usciences.edu/library/find/more-about-finding-articles.asp#3 (see bottom of the page).


And regarding your topic: I’m not sure how you structured your searches in PubMed, but I would recommend using the Advanced search, which allows you to search using multiple fields, and to limit the scope of each field to things like title and MeSH Terms. In case you are not aware, MeSH terms are special subject headings used to classify medical literature.


I ran some searches hoping to find results related to Philly populations, but didn’t have any luck in PubMed. Despite this, I thought you might be interested to view the results, because -- although I could not find results that explicitly deal with Philadelphia populations -- there IS research on breast cancer in African American women out there.

Here’s what I did:


1.     Go to Advanced Search

2.     Enter the terms “breast cancer” and “African Americans”, then limit the fields to MeSH Terms, then click Search. See this screenshot for example:



3.     This gave me 1131 results, which is a lot. However, you can limit your results to just the documents we have via fulltext subscription. To do this, look at your results list and click USP under “Filter your results” in the top left corner:



This will limit the results to just the documents you can access right away. I saw studies which report on the experiences of African Americans receiving breast cancer treatments, but they did not state where the studies were based. Often I found studies published by Drexel or Temple, hence the word Philadelphia would appear, but again, I didn’t find authors stating they worked with a (West) Philadelphia population.

4.     I scanned through the first page or two, and then I added one more MeSH term, “cities”. You can do this by returning to Advanced search and looking at the History. You should see your first search here; just click “Add” to put it back into the search form, (where it will appear in it's own field indicated by a number)…


5.     …and now type the word “cities” in another field and limit it to MeSH. Your search will look something like this:

 Note the "Recent Query  --  #1", which represents the first search, which we just added back to the form.

This search gave me a fulltext list of 77 sources. From here, you may wish to look at the results and see if there is anything relevant. If you find even one good document, then take a look at its footnotes, or see if the authors have published other work on this topic.

If you do not see anything on West Philadelphia, then consider looking for some other pattern in the results. You may find a variation, and from there, you may choose to modify your topic.

FYI, I also included the term “Philadelphia”, but did not find any results.


Please let us know if you need more assistance. Consider stopping by the library to speak with one of us on the reference desk. The desk is staffed M-F from 9-5 and no appointment is necessary.




  • Last Updated Dec 11, 2018
  • Views 22
  • Answered By Chris Wieman

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