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Addressing care gap in underserved women not easy, Mayo researchers find
Date:12/17/2007

SAN ANTONIO In an effort to fill a significant gap in the breast care of underserved women, physicians and nurses at Mayo Clinics campus in Jacksonville, Fla., developed a program, still ongoing, to help overcome barriers that prevent women from receiving timely care after an abnormal mammogram.

From 2001 through 2006, Mayo Clinics Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic offered free diagnosis services to 447 women who had been screened for breast cancer by their county health departments in Northeast Florida. The goal was to substantially reduce what can be a long delay between an abnormal screening mammogram and diagnosis which they succeeded in doing and thus improve outcomes for the 38 women found to have cancer and reduce distress in many others.

Arriving at a correct diagnosis was relatively easy; overcoming the barriers to health care that many women have was not, says the lead author and researcher presenting an analysis of the program at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium meeting.

For example, many women participating in the program had no address, or just a temporary one, such as a battered womens shelter, says Frances M. Palmieri, M.S.N., clinical manager of the Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic. Few had telephones, public transportation to the clinic was nonexistent, and some women were reluctant to come in any case, Palmieri says. Others could not take time away from child care or work to come to the clinic for evaluation.

This is a snapshot of what happens nationally to financially disadvantaged, medically uninsured women, she says. We all need to understand and try to overcome the challenges and barriers to patient care that exist for many.

Among other things, the Breast Clinic worked with local charities to provide clothing to those who needed it, and worked with the city of Jacksonville to have the public bus service stop at the clinic. They assigned a research nurse, Judith Smith, to help find
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Contact: Paul Scotti
scotti.paul@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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