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A guide through the cancer labyrinth
Toward a peer navigation program for Black women helping Black women survive breast cancer By Ruthann Richter Portraits by Timothy Archibald July 27, 2022
Published Abstract for AACR
Abstract for AACR Conference: Abstract Due Friday July 12, 2019
Patient Activation and Navigation: Utilizing Innovative Patient Engagement Strategies to Elevate Knowledge of Breast Cancer and Clinical Trials among African American Women
Geeta Rajamani, Olivia Tigre, Limi Ahmed, Ida Bezabeh, Starla Gay, Taylor MI Hollis, Alemnesh Kassa, Liz Kassa, Rhonda McClinton-Brown, Tinebeta Mekonnen, Regene Ross, Regina Guillory, Chiquita T. Tuttle, Juanita J. Waugh, Lenora Williams, Lisa Goldman Rosas
Low recruitment of African American women into breast cancer clinical trials is a significant barrier for addressing breast cancer disparities in this population. Although the incidence of breast cancer among African American and non-Hispanic white women is nearly equal, the mortality rate is 42% higher for African American compared to non-Hispanic white women. This disparity is due to diverse factors such as later stage at diagnosis and limited access to screening and treatment. To effectively address African American breast cancer disparities, there is an urgent need to build capacity among African American women in breast cancer research. The African American Breast Cancer Peer Navigator program was established to engage the African American communities in the San Francisco Bay Area in breast cancer research. We recruited 13 community members interested in serving as peer navigators for one year. To build their capacity in breast cancer, we hosted a series of educational sessions facilitated by local and national experts in topics such as breast cancer disparities, best practices in primary and secondary prevention strategies for advocacy and community engagement, breast cancer survivorship, and breast cancer clinical trials. When possible, these sessions were facilitated by local African American experts. Following capacity building, each peer navigator created their own plan for engaging their local community in breast cancer awareness and research. Peer navigators planned diverse engagement strategies including a radio program, faith-based events, free mammogram screenings, and educational speakers. In total, the peer navigators conducted 10 community engagement activities and reach over 500 of their community members. At the conclusion of the one-year peer navigator program, the group prioritized breast cancer survivorship and secured funding to pilot test a physical activity program for African American Breast Cancer survivors. The peer navigators also continue to meet to promote awareness of breast cancer in their community and affect policies to increase access for African American women to breast cancer resources and services in our local area. The peer navigators will present details of their capacity building activities, community engagement events, and their future research and practice goals.