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J Cancer Educ. 1992 Winter;7(4):321-6.

Breast and cervical cancer screening in minority populations: a model for using lay health educators.

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Health Interventions and Translations Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


Although mammography and the Pap smear have significantly reduced US deaths related to breast and cervical cancers, screening prevalence and survival rates for both diseases are disproportionately lower among minority women. This model program outlines techniques for recruiting and training minority women to serve as lay health educators who can effectively deliver preventive health care information to their peers. Lay health educators have three primary functions: to serve as mediators between minority women and health agencies, to establish a social network, and to offer social support. When properly recruited and trained, these educators can bridge the gap between health professionals and the community as well as help health professionals to better understand community and individual concerns about cancer. The goal is to increase the detection, prevention, and treatment of breast and cervical cancers in minority communities and thus decrease related deaths. An ongoing intervention by the Arizona Disease Prevention Center, targeting Yaqui Indian and Mexican-American women aged 35 and older, illustrates specific elements of the model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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