Cancer now ranks as the leading cause of death among Hispanics in the U.S. with estimates of 112,800 new cancer diagnoses and 33,200 cancer deaths in 2012 alone. Breast cancer ranks as the leading cancer diagnosis and cancer related cause of death for Hispanic women. Cervical and other uterine cancers also place in the top ten cancer diagnoses and deaths for Hispanic women, who experience higher incidence rates and mortality compared to non-Hispanic white women.
Women living in rural areas of Texas are less likely than their urban counterparts to have had a mammogram or Papanicolau (Pap) test within the past two years. Screening and diagnostic services tend to be “disconnected,” and not easy to locate or access in rural Texas, especially for underserved and older women. As a result, women in these rural areas tend to be diagnosed in later stages of breast cancer, making treatment more difficult and impairing future quality of life.
The purpose of the Friend to Friend plus Patient Navigation Program (FTF+PN) program is to build an effective, sustainable infrastructure and overcome barriers to breast and cervical screening and diagnostic services to increase screening rates for uninsured and older women in 49 frontier, rural and border counties. The Patient Navigation process builds on a successful, evidence-based FTF program, which Texas AgriLife has been providing in rural Texas since 2000.
Strategies to build an effective, sustainable infrastructure and overcome barriers to breast and cervical screening and diagnostic services will improve screening rates for uninsured and older women in 46 frontier, rural and border counties who come to a Friend to Friend event. Breast screening rates will be increased from 62% to 72% for women 40 years of age or older with less than a high school education and from 65% to 75% for women who are 65 years or older. Cervical cancer screening rates will be increased from 61% to 71% for women aged 25 years and older during the past three years for women with less than a high school education, and from 50% to 60% for women 65 years or older. Based on our experience with FTF, we expect to increase the number of women reached from 1,000 to 3,000 women in the 46 counties.