Church-based health initiative leads to increase in mammograms

October 18, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

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The Tepeyac Project was a faith-based health care initiative aimed at encouraging Latina women in Colorado to have breast cancer screenings. The results of the project, which ran from 1999 to 2005, has just been published in the October issue of the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Over two hundred Catholic churches received culturally-tailored information about breast health either via printed packets or through on-site educators during the participation in the Teypeyac Project.  The study’s investigators at the University of Colorado’s Health Science Center Division of Health Care Policy and Research found that that the use of peer-counselors delivering on-site breast-health education significantly increased the number of mammograms in insured Latinas after adjusting for age, income, disability and location.

While the authors of the study admit that the information received in printed packets did not make a significant difference in the number of parishioners who claimed to receive mammograms, it is hopeful that faith-based health care initiatives focusing on prevention and education will make an impact on increasing awareness of early warning signs of breast cancer.

This study follows on the heels of a 2006 study published in the journal Health Promotion Practice from the University of Illinois at Chicago that reported that African-American women attending churches enrolled in faith-based cancer education programs that actively participated in educational activities were four times more likely to report having an annual mammogram than women who did not actively participate.

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