Bilingual Clinics Boost Cancer Screening for Hispanic Women

Immigrant patients more comfortable speaking to health staff in Spanish, study confirms

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MONDAY, Aug. 21, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A free, bilingual and culturally sensitive cancer screening program is proving successful among Hispanic women in the Washington, D.C., area, a new study finds.

The study examined a program developed to serve Hispanic women in the district's Virginia suburbs. The program provides free cervical and breast cancer screening one Saturday each month to people who would otherwise have difficulty accessing this kind of service.

In the first six years of the program, staff attended to 928 screening visits. Of those, 53 percent were by women who'd returned at least once for an annual screening, the study said. It found that 91 percent of the women preferred speaking in Spanish with their health care providers. Only five percent of the women had health insurance.

The program, which started eight years ago, is the result of collaboration between Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University Hospital, and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Along with free screening, the program provides additional no-cost treatment to women who are found to have cancer.

Cancer screening rates in the United States have increased over the last 20 years, but Hispanic women are less likely than others to take advantage of screening programs.

The study was published in the August issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer screening.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Aug. 15, 2006

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