A Theory-Based Intervention to Improve Breast Cancer Awareness and Screening in Jamaica
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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. We hypothesized that a theory-based health educational intervention would increase awareness of breast cancer and intention to screen among women in Western Jamaica. Two hundred and forty six women attending hospitals or clinics were enrolled in an educational intervention consisting of a pretest, breast cancer presentation, and posttest if they had never been screened or had not been screened in 5 years or more. The questionnaires assessed attitudes and knowledge of risk factors and symptoms related to breast cancer. Participants were followed approximately 6 months after the intervention to determine whether they accessed breast cancer screening. There were statistically significant increases (p < 0.0001) in the percentage of correct knowledge responses and in participants’ intention to screen from pretest to posttest. The greatest posttest improvements were among items measuring knowledge of breast cancer screening tests and risk factors. Of the 134 women who were reached by phone for post-intervention follow-up, 30 women (22.4 %) were screened for breast cancer and 104 women (77.6 %) 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.
KeywordsEarly detection of cancer Follow-up studies Health behavior Jamaica Breast neoplasms
This research was funded by the Minority Health International Research Training Program, grant no. T37-MD001448, from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA; The Cancer Research Experiences for Students Training Program, grant no. 5R25 CA76023, from the National Cancer Institute; and The University of Alabama School of Medicine and its Medical Alumni Association. The authors are grateful to Kyaw Lwin, the Epidemiology and Research Unit of Western Regional Health Authority, and Western Regional Health Authority health educators for their research assistance.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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