African American women experience higher breast cancer mortality and lower survival when compared with White women of comparable age and cancer stage. Among women with private health insurance, only 27% of African American women receive mammograms. The literature is limited in studies that address the influence of past events on health promotion behaviors among women of diverse racial and cultural groups. The purpose of this study was to explore associations between past events concerning women''s breasts and women''s current health behaviors pertaining to breast cancer screening. This qualitative study used participant narratives to explore African American women''s past experiences and feelings concerning their breasts and breast cancer screening. Contradictory messages women receive from society and the media can have a long-term effect on how women perceive their bodies and how they value early detection related to breast cancer screening. A definiton of womanhood is needed that does not primarily focus on physical attributes but includes all aspects of being human.