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Keywords:

  • community health networks;
  • cancer;
  • education;
  • screening;
  • primary care;
  • physician;
  • rural health;
  • African American

Abstract

The origin of cancer health disparities and mortality in Arkansas is multifactorial. In response to a cooperative agreement with the National Cancer Institute's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, the Arkansas Special Populations Access Network (ASPAN) was developed to reduce these disparities. ASPAN's partnership with local primary care physicians of the Arkansas Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association through the Cancer Education Awareness Program is the focus of this article. A quasi-experimental intervention, the Community Cancer Education Awareness Program, was employed that included 1) physician education to increase awareness of risk factors and cancer screening; and 2) patient education to increase screening, and 3) patient-generated screening questionnaires to prompt discussion of cancer risk and screening recommendations between patients and physicians. Two urban and 2 rural clinics were targeted during a 12-month period with interval intervention assessments. Baseline review of records (n = 200) from patients ≥40 were utilized to assess the rate of breast, prostate, and colorectal screenings among clinics. For the patient education intervention, patients (n = 120) were interviewed via a 34-item assessment. Physician awareness of cancer risk factors and screening recommendations significantly increased. Statistically significant increases were seen for prostate (P = .028), breast (P = .036), and colorectal (P < .001) cancer screening across all 4 clinics. Patients' increased likelihood of cancer screenings was associated with knowledge about consumption of animal fat (P < .001), dietary fiber (P < .013), and mammograms (P < .001). Utilizing the physician as the central change agent, the ASPAN provider network successfully enhanced cancer screening awareness of minority physicians and their patients. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.