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Creating awareness and facilitating cervical and breast cancer screening uptake through the use of a Community Health Worker: a pilot intervention study

Authors


Johanna E. Maree, Department of Nursing Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown, 2193 Johannesburg, South Africa (e-mail: Lize.maree@wits.ac.za).

Abstract

TUM S.J., MAREE J.E. & CLARKE M. (2013) European Journal of Cancer Care22, 107–116

Creating awareness and facilitating cervical and breast cancer screening uptake through the use of a Community Health Worker: a pilot intervention study

In South Africa, cervical cancer is the most common female cancer followed by breast cancer. Despite the high incidence of these cancers, population-based screening is limited to cervical screening available at primary health clinics. Cervical screening uptake is, however, low. In 2009 a new cancer prevention initiative was launched in a specific resource poor community in Tshwane, South Africa. The low cervical screening uptake as well as a potentially low breast screening uptake could have resulted in the failure of this initiative. The purpose of the study was to develop and pilot test an intervention to address this risk. A Community Health Worker was trained and tasked to raise awareness of cervical and breast cancer and motivate women to take up screening. The intervention was assessed in terms of three outcomes: screening uptake, awareness and the value of the Community Health Worker. Despite the fact that the Community Health Worker's role was valued, screening uptake was disappointing and the level of awareness remained low. Unfortunately this intervention failed and once again we are left with the challenge of improving screening uptake.

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