Susan G Komen  
I've Been Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Someone I Know Was Diagnosed Share Your Story Join Us And Stay Informed Donate To End Breast Cancer
    Home > Research & Grants > Grants Program > Research Grants > Research Grants Awarded > Abstract
    Awarded Grants
    Health Literacy as a Predictor of Complete Breast Cancer Screening & Follow-Up

    Scientific Abstract:
    Background: In New York City, Black and Latina women are disproportionately affected by breast cancer. Racial/ethnic differences in incidence and mortality may reflect differences in screening prevalence as well as gaps in follow-up. While past efforts have focused on encouraging women to initially seek breast cancer screening, few programs have examined the barriers to completing the screening continuum – clinical breast exam, mammogram, any necessary follow-up, and returning for annual mammograms – after the initial appointment. At one collaborating site, only 41% of the women who attended screening appointments last year obtained a mammogram, and 60% of women with abnormal breast screening findings did not return for follow-up. Objective & Hypotheses: Health literacy – or the degree to which one can obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions – may be a key predictor of whether a woman obtains complete and appropriate breast cancer screening. Specific Aims: (1) To quantify rates of breast cancer screening follow-up and annual return rates among low-income Black and Latina women age 40 and over seeking breast and cervical cancer screening services through two collaborating hospital sites; (2) to measure whether health literacy is an independent predictor of cancer screening completion and follow-up; and (3) to identify health service program elements that can be implemented to increase the completion of the breast cancer screening continuum among low-income, low-literacy populations. Study Design: The project will: (1) Recruit 800 Black and Latina women attending appointments for cancer screening at NBCCEDP screening sites; (2) administer a questionnaire on sociodemographic variables and knowledge of cancer screening guidelines; (3) measure patient/provider communication and patient perception of quality of care; (4) measure health literacy levels of survey participants; (5) track progress indicators for follow-up, and their association with health literacy and health system features; (6) disseminate findings to stimulate change in the way screening services are provided; (7) collaborate with two screening sites to carry out all program activities. Potential Outcomes & Benefits: The project will identify program elements that may reduce literacy-related barriers to complete breast cancer screening, information essential to screening sites serving low-literacy populations.

    Lay Abstract:
    Background: Women who make an appointment to get breast cancer screening have conquered many barriers. For Black and Latina women who seek breast cancer screening services through the federally-funded National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), there are many steps a woman must follow to make sure that she has complete breast cancer screening: getting a clinical breast exam, having a mammogram, returning for follow-up of any abnormal findings, and then returning for annual re-screening. Objective & Hypotheses: Health literacy – or the degree to which one can obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions – may affect whether a woman completes all steps of breast cancer screening, including returning for her annual mammogram. Aims: The project has three specific aims: (1) To describe the rates of breast cancer screening follow-up and annual return rates among low-income Black and Latina women age 40 and over who get breast and cervical cancer screening at two hospital sites; (2) to measure whether health literacy is an independent predictor of cancer screening completion and follow-up; and (3) to identify health service program elements that can be implemented by screening sites to increase the completion of the breast cancer screening continuum among low-income, low-literacy populations. Study Design: The project will carry out the following program activities: (1) Recruit 800 predominantly Black and Latina women attending appointments for cancer screening at participating screening sites; (2) administer a questionnaire including sociodemographic variables and knowledge of cancer screening guidelines to these 800 women; (3) measure patient/provider communication and patient perception of quality of care; (4) measure health literacy levels of survey participants; (5) track progress indicators for follow-up, and their association with health literacy and health system features; (6) disseminate findings to stimulate change in the way screening services are provided; (7) collaborate with two screening sites. Potential Outcomes & Benefits: The proposed program will identify program elements that may reduce literacy-related barriers to complete breast cancer screening, information that is essential to NBCCEDP and other breast cancer screening providers throughout the country that serve low-literacy populations.