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J Cancer Educ. 1997 Spring;12(1):43-50.

Development and implementation of outreach strategies for breast and cervical cancer prevention among African American women. FoCaS Project. Forsyth County Cancer Screening.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.



The purpose of the FoCaS (Forsyth County Cancer Screening) Project was to develop and implement strategies that would improve the beliefs, attitudes, and preventive health habits of populations typically considered hard to reach. Conventional health education methods have not produced substantial results; thus, innovative and unusual strategies are needed.


The FoCaS project implemented specific methods to reach the targeted population of African American women aged 40 and older that resides in public housing communities. Five outreach strategies were used: 1) educational classes (group setting and one-on-one sessions) on various topics that relate not to breast and cervical cancer but to women's issues in general; 2) media campaigns strategically scheduled throughout the year; 3) the inclusion of religion in educational classes and community outreach; 4) the use of information centers to distribute materials; and 5) a community-wide cancer-awareness event.


These strategies reached women in nonthreatening environments that permitted heavy involvement and easy understanding of the importance of breast and cervical cancer screening.


The effects of these strategies on promoting screening will be evaluated using data from the follow-up survey conducted during the spring of 1996.

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