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HealthyHispanicLiving Contributor Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel Discusses How Understanding the Cultural Values of Latinas Helps Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer Risk & Prevention
Date:12/27/2013

mutation.

These mutations also result in early age onset, so the disease is already quite advanced when women from underserved Hispanic communities are finally diagnosed. This highlights the importance of – and great need for – more timely and culturally informed early detection and risk reduction services. But insufficient research with Latino populations has hindered the development of culturally-based prevention and treatment efforts and limited the scope of comparative studies of genetic factors and behavioral interventions that influence breast cancer risk and clinical outcomes

“To be sure, there are challenges to overcome in these high-risk underserved Hispanic communities. For example, less than 50 percent of Latinas show up for scheduled genetic cancer risk assessment (GCRA) consultations,” explains Dr. Weitzel who recently received a $380,000 grant from the Avon Foundation to continue his research on the cancer risk among Latinas as well as support his team’s community outreach. “One reason is that the time from referral to actual consultation is particularly stressful for Latinas, complete with feelings of fear, intrusive thoughts and a perceived sense of uncertainty about what to expect.”

In a preliminary study of 150 patients, Dr. Weitzel and his team found that many more patients (88 percent) kept scheduled appointments for consultations when they received a pre-GCRA telephone intervention (adapted from motivational interviewing). Additionally, outcome surveys showed subsequent risk-appropriate screening and prevention behavior. A proposed project buil
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