The Impact of Community Health Agencies on the Prevention of Breast Cancer in Underserved Populations

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather Wolford (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: The purpose of this project was to identify barriers that prevent women from adhering to recommended screening practices or seeking help when they have concerns about their breast health. Health disparities concerning breast cancer stem from multiple determinants of health including race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and age (Jimenez et al., 2011). Early detection and treatment lead to better breast health outcomes. Yet, women at a higher risk are not utilizing prevention measures as recommended. Women from minority racial and ethnic groups report experiencing structural, clinical, and personal barriers (Young et al., 2011). In an effort to address these barriers, federal and state funding is available for widespread breast cancer screenings and health teaching conducted with the goal of eliminating health disparities. This project was conducted at a federally qualified health center in a rural county in Eastern North Carolina. The two objectives were: 1) to conduct a chart audit on women receiving breast cancer screening through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) to gather information on demographics and screening experiences and 2) to interview key informants about their perspective on reaching underserved populations. BCCCP provides funding to cover around 150 women every year at this center. Fifty two charts were audited from the last six years. This group was 46.15% White, 23.08% African American, and 5.77% Latino. The remaining 25% chose not to report their race. Ages ranged from 22-68 with an average of 49.9 years. Breast symptoms, including lumps, pain, and lesions, brought 27 women in for BCCCP services and 18 of these women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Many women express fears of receiving bad news as well as associated costs, so they delayed screening. BCCCP provides educational material in multiple languages about the program as well as signs and symptoms of breast cancer. BCCCP also works with multiple facilities and public transportation to reduce structural barriers. The communities this program serves would greatly benefit from transportation services. An attempt needs to be made to form a partnership with local transportation as well as transportation to farther locations for consults and treatment. This facility could target minority women to increase their participation in the program through outreach programs including partnerships with salons, churches, and women’s groups. Staff training is necessary in order to fully serve all woman.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Breast Cancer, Underserved, Prevention

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