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An educational program to increase cervical and breast cancer screening in Hispanic women: a Southwest Oncology Group study.


We conducted a community-based pilot study to train Hispanic cancer survivors as promotoras (lay health educators) to encourage their social contacts to obtain breast and cervical cancer screening. Promotoras were recruited from a private oncologist's practice at a Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MBCCOP). Five Hispanic women were trained to serve as promotoras by attending a 12-week course. They shared cancer screening information with family and social contacts and encouraged them to obtain Papanicolaou smears and/or mammograms. Study endpoints included the number of women recruited and trained to serve as promotoras, the number of contacts made per promotora, and the number of contacts who were screened; data were based on contact logs maintained for 1 year. Screening examinations were documented by a postcard returned by the contact or by review of community health clinic records. Five promotoras contacted 141 (range = 24-49 per promotora) women to share cancer screening information. Fifty Hispanic women obtained screening after contact with a promotora. Twenty-nine underwent mammography (ages 25-58) and 43 received a Papanicolaou smear (ages 23-62). Hispanic female cancer survivors can be trained as promotoras. Screening information conveyed by a promotora can successfully prompt Hispanic women to obtain mammography and Papanicolaou smears.

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