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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Explores Improving Breast Cancer Awareness and Screening in Jamaica

Despite declines in breast cancer mortality rates in developed countries, mortality rates remain high in Jamaica due to low levels of screening and lack of early detection. Dr. Pauline E. Jolly, professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; Ms. Chidinma P. Anakwenze, UAB medical student; Ms. Evelyn Coronado-Interis, UAB MPH graduate; and colleagues hypothesized that a theory-based health educational intervention would increase awareness of breast cancer and intention to screen among women in Western Jamaica.

[Photo: Dr. Pauline E. Jolly]

Two hundred and forty six women attending hospitals or clinics were enrolled in an educational intervention consisting of a pre-test, breast cancer presentation, and post-test if they had never been screened or had not been screened in five years or more. The questionnaires assessed attitudes and knowledge of risk factors and symptoms related to breast cancer. Participants were followed for approximately 6 months after the intervention to determine whether they accessed breast cancer screening.

Results indicated that there were statistically significant increases (p < 0.0001) in the percentage of correct knowledge responses and in participants’ intention to screen from pre-test to post-test. The greatest post-test improvements were among items measuring knowledge of breast cancer screening tests and risk factors for breast cancer. Of the 134 women who were reached by phone for post-intervention follow-up, 30 women (22.4 percent) were screened for breast cancer and 104 women (77.6 percent) had not been screened.

The use of a theory-based educational intervention positively influenced knowledge of breast cancer risk factors, symptoms, and types of screening, and increased screening rates in screening-naïve women. This theory-based educational intervention may be replicated to promote awareness of breast cancer and further increase screening rates in other areas of Jamaica and other developing countries.

“A Theory–based Intervention to Improve Breast Cancer Awareness and Screening in Jamaica” was published in the May online issue of Prevention Science: The Official Journal of the Society for Prevention Research.

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