SIDEBAR: Program Background


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Partners for Cancer Care and Prevention holds that early detection and high-quality treatment of breast and cervical cancer save lives. The organization exists to build community capacity for the creation of high-quality, holistic breast and cervical health programs managed by the local health establishment.

Two-phase Pilot Program

In 2012, the staff of the oldest hospital in Colombia partnered with Cali-based government and public health leaders and Partners for Cancer Care and Prevention to initiate a program to serve Cali’s poorest women. The organization’s ultimate goal is to replicate this women’s cancer pilot program in low-resource communities throughout Colombia and Latin America. Design and implementation are ongoing in two phases: Phase 1 will tackle breast health (March 2013), and phase 2, cervical health (October 2013).

In preparation, Partners for Cancer Care and Prevention and hospital staff engaged in epidemiologic research to assess feasibility and appropriateness of future interventions. Data collection included 105 sociodemographic surveys of patients requesting breast health services, 3 key-informant interviews of hospital breast health program leadership, 1 key-informant interview of a community-based patient navigator, and a review of 49 randomly selected histopathologic reports of breast cancer cases assessed at the partner hospital.

Patient Population Profile

Of 105 women completing a 30-item questionnaire (convenience sample), 80% had children, and 40% had three or more. Nearly half had only primary school education, and 70% were unemployed. More than 20% ceased working as a consequence of disease progression.

About 25% reported a family history of breast cancer. Sixty-nine percent had physical symptoms of breast disease prior to receiving their first mammogram, with 38% reporting two or more symptoms (nipple discharge, breast mass, peau d’orange, breast pain). ■


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