Increasing Awareness of Gynecologic Cancer Risks and Symptoms among Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Women in the US-Associated Pacific Island Jurisdictions

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States.

2 Yap Cancer Program, Wa’ab Community Health Center, Colonia, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia.

Abstract

 
Background: Gynecologic cancers are common among Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (A/NH/PI) women. Prevention is important in United States associated Pacific Island jurisdictions (USAPIJ) because there are limited resources to treat cancer. The objective of this study was to educate A/NH/PI women and providers about evidence-based interventions to prevent and control gynecologic cancers in Yap, one of four major islands comprising the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). This was done through a partnership between Inside Knowledge: Get The Facts About Gynecologic Cancer national campaign and the Yap comprehensive cancer control program, both funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Methods: Inside Knowledge educational materials were obtained from the CDC website and used in facilitated educational sessions. Sessions were planned according to leading health education theories, and were implemented and led by local Yap public health practitioners. Pre- and post-session surveys were used to assess changes in gynecologic cancer awareness, confidence and behavioral intentions related to prevention/early detection for gynecologic cancer. Results: Twenty-nine providers and 326 adult women participated in sessions. All participants demonstrated significant increases in knowledge across all measured domains post-session. Public knowledge that HPV causes cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer increased from 4.9% pre-session to 51.4% post-session (p<0.0001); provider knowledge increased from 17.2% to 96.6% (p<0.0001). Significantly more women identified smoking as a cervical cancer risk factor post-session (increased from 53.8% to 98.7% [p<0.0001]). An average of 61.4% of providers said they were extremely or somewhat confident in their gynecologic cancer knowledge pre-session compared to 91.7% post-session. Conclusion: Targeted education about gynecologic cancer symptoms and risk factors can be effective at increasing awareness, behavioral intention, confidence and knowledge. These increases can lead to more widespread prevention of these five cancers.

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