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Education program leads to lasting improvement of cancer knowledge in African Americans
Date:10/28/2007

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28 Disparities in access to health care and education hinder minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations from receiving needed cancer services and often lead to delayed cancer diagnoses. To determine the lasting impact of cancer education geared toward African-Americans, researchers with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), in partnership with The Centers for Healthy Hearts and Souls, a Pittsburgh-based community health promotion organization, designed an outreach program that consisted of three education sessions. Study participants showed high levels of interest in cancer-related issues and notable retention and improvement in their knowledge about cancer after four months, according to findings presented today at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) in Los Angeles.

A number of barriers, both real and perceived, deter minorities from receiving much needed cancer services, said Dwight Heron, M.D., study co-author and assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Improved knowledge about cancer prevention and treatment can help us better reach patients and communities with the greatest needs, and address and overcome cultural and socioeconomic factors that often limit access to cancer services. This study points to the crucial influence an education program can have on cancer knowledge and attitudes, and is an important first step in breaking down barriers related to cancer disparities, said Dr. Heron.

Study participants included 38 African-Americans of varying ages, including a group of 10 residents of a Pittsburgh-based senior citizens center. Study investigators presented three education sessions: a culturally-adapted version of Cancer 101, a program on clinical trials developed by the National Cancer Institute and a scenario-based discussion of cancer-related subjects using the Can
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Contact: Clare Collins
CollCX@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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