The MY B.R.E.A.S.T. program

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Summary

Breast health awareness and screening information for medically underserved minority populations

Presenters: Lisa A. HarrisR. Pierre RodgersEllen Drogin RodgersRebecca Eisenberg

Lisa A. Harris, Cleveland State University
R. Pierre Rodgers, George Mason University
Ellen Drogin Rodgers, George Mason University
Rebecca Eisenberg, George Mason University

Discussion: The MY B.R.E.A.S.T. workshops and survey results suggest that the target audience of minority females was reached as there was increased knowledge of breast health awareness. However, there may be racial, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers when it comes to the messages African American women receive about breast cancer and ultimately treatment options.

Abstract

The MY B.R.E.A.S.T. program: Breast health awareness and screening information for medically underserved minority populations

Introduction: It has been shown that African Americans have higher rates of diseases compared with Whites (Dreeben, 2001). Further, there are racial disparities when it comes to how and where minorities receive information about health, behaviors, and sheer facts regarding treatment options (Kelly et al., 2016). This is critical in assessing how race may play a part in the perception of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Socio-economic status may be at work; to be sure, African American women “are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than are White women but are more likely to be adversely affected” (Bourjolly et al, 2003, p. 43). Having breast cancer, African American female patients must find ways to cope with the disease, employing varying coping strategies embracing issues such as information seeking and negotiation (Davis et al., 2013); and spirituality (Best et al., 2015; Holt et al., 2009). But before coping can take place, it is essential that information about the disease—prevalence, symptoms, and causes—be communicated to these women. Indeed, “how and whether a person obtains health information can influence that person’s health behavior, health care access, health outcomes, and quality of life” (Kelley et al., 2016, p. 575). This provides a context for the present study reporting on the efforts of health educators to promote better understanding of breast health and the need for early detection/screening of medically underserved minority populations in Northeast Ohio. The objective was develop and implement a series of educational and culturally appropriate workshops in an educational “building” format to help create awareness of breast cancer risks among African American women—the MY B.R.E.A.S.T. workshop series.

Methods: The MY B.R.E.A.S.T. acronym stands for BREAST, RISK, EDUCATION, ACCESS, SUPPORT, and TRAINING. Based on the Precede-Proceed Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), an eightphase process ranging from social assessment to program evaluation was implemented. Relying on resources from the Susan G. Komen 2011 Community Profile Report; Susan G. Komen Educational Tools and Resources (“Breast Cancer 101,” ”Breast Self Awareness”); demographic data from a selected Northeast Ohio community; and information from the Affordable Care Act, two survey instruments—a pre-test and a post-test—were administered to minority female participants at health education workshops in conjunction with breast cancer education and awareness objectives. There were 45 respondents.

Preliminary Findings: SWOT findings revealed the efficacy of adult learning themes and technology; the discomfort of women to discuss the possibility of getting breast cancer; the continued increase of breast cancer awareness; and strategies to enhance attendance at information-gathering venues in minority communities.

Discussion: The MY B.R.E.A.S.T. workshops and survey results suggest that the target audience of minority females was reached as there was increased knowledge of breast health awareness. However, there may be racial, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers when it comes to the messages African American women receive about breast cancer and ultimately treatment options.

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