Ko-Pamoja: the feasibility of a lay health educator-led breast and cervical screening program for Black women in Ontario, Canada (short report)
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BACKGROUND: Effective strategies are needed to actively encourage Black women in Canada to adhere to breast and cervical cancer screening and follow-up. In this study, we describe "Ko-Pamoja," a pilot peer education program for breast and cervical cancer screening targeted specifically at Black women in Toronto, Canada. METHODS: We used an Afrocentric lens to design the program, whose purpose was to increase awareness of cancer susceptibility and the benefits of screening for breast and cervical cancer for Black women. Participants were recruited through three Black-predominant churches. We used pre- and post-session questionnaires to assess changes in participant awareness of cancer susceptibility and screening guidelines, and changes in screening self-efficacy. RESULTS: 30 women attended sessions. Ko-Pamoja was able to increase awareness of cancer susceptibility, awareness of screening guidelines, and screening self-efficacy. Two months after the last session, four women had been screened for breast cancer at a participating mammogram site. CONCLUSIONS: Building on the successes of Ko-Pamoja, future versions are being developed in the region. These versions will be adapted to take into account our lessons learned while maintaining the Afrocentric lens and community-focussed approach, in order to promote cancer screening and ultimately improve outcomes.
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