Follow-up visits from trained community health workers known as ‘promotoras’ have been shown to improve breast cancer screening rates among Latino women, according to results of a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology.
Breast cancer is not only the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in women in the United Sates, it is also the top cause of cancer-related mortality in the female Latino population. For this reason, patient programs have been designed and implemented in Latino communities to increase the number of women who receive breast cancer screening.
Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research set out to evaluate the impact of these types of programs on screening rates. To do so they enrolled more than 500 Latino woman in a study consisting of typical screening care as well as an interventional aspect involving a visit and telephone follow-up with a promotora.
Their results showed that promotora visits improved the rate of screening mammography by more than 8 percent when compared to normal care strategies.
“Promotora visits are essential in educating Latina women about the importance of breast cancer screening,” said lead author Gloria Coronado, PhD, of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, in a press release. “We are encouraged by these findings, and must continue to involve patients, clinics and communities in efforts to further reduce the inequity in breast cancer screening."