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Health Promot Int. 2002 Mar;17(1):3-11.

Breast cancer health promotion model for older Puerto Rican women: results of a pilot programme.

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Gerontology Program, Department of Human Development, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-5067, USA.


This article focuses on the development of a health promotion model programme for elderly Puerto Rican women intended to minimize barriers for early detection of breast cancer and to increase women's compliance with recommended guidelines. The programme was designed based on the findings of a national sample to assess knowledge, beliefs and practices of breast cancer early detection in Puerto Rican elderly women and their perceptions of barriers associated with non-compliance. It involves the combination of educational and environmental support for actions and conditions conducive to health behaviour and consists of the following components: (i) a culture- and cohort-sensitive health education programme for elderly women on breast cancer screening and assertive strategies for client-physician relationship; (ii) training for primary-care providers on current guidelines and barriers affecting compliance among older women in Puerto Rico; and (iii) coordination of necessary support services to facilitate access to clinical breast exams and mammograms. Programme implementation considers appropriate theories for health promotion and education in the older population. Evaluation measured progress in the plan implementation by assessing immediate products and long-term impact of the programme. Results of the pilot programme revealed a slight increase in knowledge and a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in beliefs after the health education sessions. Interventions in breast cancer early detection practices showed significant changes (p < 0.05) for mammogram and clinical breast examination. Different strategies must be combined to increase older women's compliance with breast cancer screening. Health system and access barriers to preventive care must be addressed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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