LOS ANGELES: Cervical Cancer Screening Program Targets Hispanic Women
A new cervical cancer outreach program that targets Hispanic women by offering a one-stop education and screening visit at local churches "could prove to be a major breakthrough" in preventing undetected cases of the disease, a new study in the journal Cancer reports. UCLA researcher Dr. Christina Holschneider studied a pilot program held at an inner-city South Los Angeles church, where congregation members who had not had a Pap smear in the last year were invited to attend the free program. Pap smears were offered before or after religious services on six Sundays and on three Saturdays. While awaiting the results of the Pap smears, which were performed and processed immediately by an on-site certified cytopathologist, the women listened to a short presentation -- available in Spanish or English -- about cervical cancer awareness and prevention. Upon receiving the test results privately, the participating women immediately underwent any necessary additional testing. Most participants cited Spanish as their native language; about 60% spoke only Spanish. Only about 20% of the participants had health insurance or a regular doctor, while over half were unemployed and had little education. Of the 98 women who attended the program, all rated the experience as "highly satisfactory," and 96 said they preferred the church program -- which took only about 90 miniutes -- to local health clinics, where they are often confronted by long waits, Holschneider reports. The one-stop aspect of the program is vital, according to Holschneider, who noted that in traditional screening, many women with abnormal test results are "lost to follow up." In California, cervical cancer is more than twice as common among Hispanic women as among non-Hispanic whites (Reuters Health, 12/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.