Reducing Barriers to Reach More Women for Breast Cancer Services Results of Consumer Focus Groups

By Robertson-Beckley, Relda | ABNF Journal, November/December 2000 | Go to article overview

Reducing Barriers to Reach More Women for Breast Cancer Services Results of Consumer Focus Groups


Robertson-Beckley, Relda, ABNF Journal


Abstract: In 1999, approximately 19,000 women in California were diagnosed with breast cancer and 4600 died. Early detection, education and treatment are critical services in combating the disease. In 1999, 42 low income women, 40 years and older participated in focus groups throughout California. Focus group results revealed valuable information regarding barriers to breast cancer early detection services.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, Focus Groups, Barriers

Since 1960, over 950,000 women have died from breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (1998) breast cancer is the most common cancer among adult women. Thirteen women die per day in California from breast cancer and approximately one of six new cancers were diagnosed in California women in 1998.

Breast cancer is an equal opportunity disease. It strikes women of all ages, races, ethnic and economic groups. However, specific groups of women are disproportionately impacted by breast cancer. African American, older and poor women with poor access to health care resources are differentially impacted by the disease.

Gaining greater insight and knowledge of barriers that prevent women from accessing breast cancer prevention services can positively contribute to better outreach and early intervention. Morbidity and mortality can be significantly reduced if tumors are found at an early stage. Increased knowledge and awareness of barriers that prevent women form seeking and utilizing breast cancer prevention services can assist in designing, planning and implementing new and existing services that are more user friendly to at risk women.

State of California: Breast Cancer Master Plan

The Department of Health Services (DHS), Cancer Detection Section spearheaded the efforts to develop a Breast Cancer Master Plan. It is anticipated that the Master Plan will provide a foundation for strategic actions to reduce the burden of breast and cervical cancer in California. The plan will provide the vehicle and foundation for statewide coordination of cancer control efforts. The 1999, a task force consisting of DHS staff, members of the statewide Breast and Cervical Cancer Advisory Council, clinical, research and community breast cancer agency members came together to develop the Master Plan. The content of the plan focuses on addressing prevention, detection and treatment. Consumer and provider focus groups were conducted stateWide. The purpose of conducting consumer and provider focus groups was to provide input. The outcomes of consumer focus groups yielded valuable information regarding barriers to prevention, early detection and community outreach.

Procedures

A total of six (6) consumer focus groups were conducted by 5 trained facilitators in 3 regions: Northern, Central and Southern California. Breast cancer education and detection programs providers assisted in the recruitment of focus group participants. Women were paid $35 for participating in the focus groups. Focus groups were approximately 1.5 hours in duration and were conducted over a period of 3 months.

Sample

A total of 42 low income residents, 40 years of age and older who have participated in Breast Cancer Early Detection Programs or Cervical Cancer Programs participated in the focus groups. …

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