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    Research Grants Awarded

    Breast Cancer Screening Among Underserved Brazilian Women: Development of a Theory-Based, Culturally-Relevant Assessment and Intervention

    Study Section:
    Breast Cancer Disparities

    Scientific Abstract:
    Breast cancer is the leading malignancy and the leading cause of cancer mortality among Brazilian women. Although early detection is key in reducing breast cancer mortality, a recent study found that about 50% of Brazilian women between ages 40-69 had never had a mammogram. The percentage of unscreened women is alarmingly higher among underserved women (i.e., low-income and less educated). However, little is known about the sociocultural factors associated with breast cancer screening in this population, and there is a lack of validated, theory-driven, culturally-relevant quantitative assessments that can guide the development and evaluation of culturally-relevant interventions to increase screening. Therefore, this project will first explore sociocultural factors associated with breast cancer screening among underserved women 40 years of age and older in the southern region of Brazil (Curitiba) through a theory-based and culturally-relevant qualitative and quantitative approach. The qualitative approach will generate the sociocultural factors, and the quantitative approach will be used to assess these factors and their relationship to screening. This work will be based on our proposed theoretical framework (Health Belief Model), and these qualitative and quantitative findings will guide intervention development and feasibility testing. An additional, and very important, goal of this application is to promote capacity building among our partners, researchers, and university students in Brazil. Developing countries, such as Brazil, do not have a tradition (or sufficient funding) to foster research. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct the proposed research in true partnership so that capacity building can be implemented concurrently, which, in turn, will lead to the development of a cadre of well-trained professionals and community leaders who can continue breast cancer disparities research in Brazil long after the study has ended.

    Lay Abstract:
    Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Brazilian women, but early detection offers a good chance of successful treatment. In Brazil, healthcare services are provided free of charge to the general population. However, screenings to detect serious diseases, such as breast cancer, are underutilized by those living in low-income areas. With the limited resources of the public health system, it is crucial that community outreach initiatives be readily available, easily understood and relevant to the mores of the Brazilian culture in order to motivate women to seek breast cancer screenings, despite their personal reluctance to do so. This grant application will join cancer researchers from the USA with leaders in the academic, federal health and cancer support arena, in Curitiba, Brazil, in order to conduct focus groups, discern motivating factors to increase regular breast cancer screenings among low-income and less educated Brazilian women age 40 and older, and then develop an intervention promoting screenings/early detection. During this study, leaders with expertise in cancer research will share ideas, conduct training workshops and engage in significant capacity building activities increasing the research capacity of our Brazilian team members for future endeavors.