MCC 2007 Spirit of Collaboration Award Winner Latina Breast Health Project
About the Initiative The Latina population in southeastern Michigan continues to expand beyond the borders of Detroit, into Downriver Wayne County and Oakland County. To address the disparity in breast cancer knowledge and access to appropriate resources for breast cancer screening, the Department of Community Education at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute expanded its current Southwest Detroit Latina Breast Cancer Project to Downriver Wayne County and Oakland County (Pontiac).
Project aimed to:
establish a Latina Breast Cancer Support Group in Southwest Detroit;
continue Spanish and English breast health education and BCCCP recruitment and enrollment in Southwest Detroit;
identify potential partners in the expansion communities;
develop the partnership and an “In-Reach” plan tailored to the expansion communities; and
prepare Lay Health Advisors to become Patient Navigators.
Project goals include:
increasing knowledge of breast cancer risk, signs, symptoms, and testing guidelines;
increasing awareness and utilization of appropriate community resources and the BCCCP for eligible underinsured/uninsured Latinas to have regular breast cancer screening;
increasing the number of Latinas remaining in the BCCCP program and obtain necessary follow-up care; and
a reported increase in support among Latina breast cancer survivors. educational presentations to at-risk women by the nursing students.
Impetus for the Collaboration
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Latinas (Komen, 2006). While breast cancer is diagnosed approximately 40 percent less often among Latinas, it is more frequently diagnosed at a later stage than when found in non-Latinas. Although Latinas have a lower incidence of breast cancer than all other women, breast cancer is the leading cause of death among Latinas. Research has shown that appropriate and routine screening is pivotal in finding breast cancer when it is most treatable, yet only 38 percent of Latina women age 40 and older in the United States have regular mammograms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that breast cancer is on the rise for Latinas and is increasing faster than in any other group. The high Latina breast cancer mortality rate can be attributed to low income, low literacy, lack of health insurance, language barriers, lack of awareness of breast cancer risks and screening methods, and in some cases, distrust of health care providers (Rameriz, 2001). Even when insured, Latinos have a harder time accessing care (National Council of La Raza, 2006). Hubbell, Chavez, Mishra, and Valdez (1996) found that Latinas are more likely to believe that factors such as breast trauma and breast fondling increase breast cancer risk, less likely to know the symptoms of breast cancer, and more likely to believe that mammograms are necessary when evaluating breast lumps. Hubbell, et. al concluded that the findings “are important for the development of culturally sensitive breast cancer control programs."
Results By the end of the grant, six Lay Health Advisors were trained and the project held a Breast Cancer Awareness Event that was attended by 80 people. The project reached over 800 Latinos through education and outreach program and created and tested a Spanish pre-/post-test for the breast cancer presentation. The project has expanded to Downriver Wayne County and Pontiac and is establishing a Latina Breast Cancer Support Group because one does not exist in Metro Detroit.
“Latina Breast Health Project” received the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s 2007 Spirit of Collaboration Award. The annual award is presented to member organizations that have done outstanding collaborative work to significantly move comprehensive cancer control activities forward in Michigan.