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Public Health Rep. 2003 Jul-Aug;118(4):338-47.

A community approach to addressing excess breast and cervical cancer mortality among women of African descent in Boston.

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Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Center of Excellence in Women's Health, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


In 2000, the REACH Boston 2010 Breast and Cervical Cancer Coalition conducted a community needs assessment and found several factors that may have contributed to disproportionately high breast and cervical cancer mortality among black women: (a) Focus group participants reported that many women in their communities had limited awareness about risk factors for cancer as well as about screening. (b) Black women experienced barriers to care related to the cultural competence of providers and of institutions. (c) Black women were not receiving adequate follow-up for abnormal mammograms and Pap smears. The Coalition's Community Action Plan to address disparities includes a model primary care service for black women; scholarships to increase the number of black mammogram technologists; primary care provider and radiology technologist training about disparities and cultural competence; and education to increase awareness among black women and to increase leadership and advocacy skills.

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