, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 69-77

Las Mujeres Saludables: Reaching Latinas for Breast, Cervical and Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Screening

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Abstract

Community health advisors have effectively promoted breast and cervical cancer prevention and screening among low-income Latina women. Specific elements of such programs, such as enhanced social support, may explain successes. Promotion of colorectal cancer screening has been less studied. Promotoras de Salud (i.e., Latina health advisors) implemented a 12-week program among women recruited from community-based organizations. The program educated 366 Latinas in breast, cervical and colorectal cancer prevention and screening and emphasized social support among class members. Pre-and post-intervention assessments demonstrated significant increases for fruit and vegetable consumption (3.05 to 3.60 servings/day), and physical activity (65.15 to 122.40 minutes/week). Of women previously non-compliant, 39 percent, 31 percent and 4 percent received Pap tests, mammography, and fecal occult blood test (FOBT), respectively. A culturally aligned education program using community health advisors and emphasizing social support among participants may improve prevention and selected screening behaviors, but more intensive interventions may be required for colorectal cancer screening compliance.

Supported by a grant from St. Luke’s Charitable Health Trust, Phoenix, Arizona.