Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Latinas. In the South Texas border region, only about three out of every five women 40 years of age and over have had a mammogram in the previous 2 years. Achieving appropriate screening for breast cancer in this region represents a significant opportunity to reduce breast cancer morbidity/mortality in one of the poorest geographic areas of the U.S.
This application seeks to establish a research and training collaborative partnership between the Institute for Population Health Policy (IPHP) at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) - a Minority Institution - and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). The UTPA-Penn breast cancer research/training partnership will focus on understanding and ameliorating disparities in breast cancer screening among Latinas in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Our objectives are (1) to develop a competitive and successful breast cancer research program that focuses in cancer control and population sciences at UTPA; (2) to develop and complete a research project on barriers to breast cancer screening among Latinas in the U.S.-Mexico border region; and (3) to develop the research infrastructure that will enable UTPA investigators to submit competitive breast cancer research proposals.
Latinas face many potential barriers to undergoing breast cancer screening. Lack of health insurance is one of the greatest barriers to mammography utilization, but financial barriers alone do not explain the limited screening in this population. As such, our specific aim in this proposal is to identify sociodemographic correlates of underutilization of mammography screening among border Latina populations. Our primary hypothesis is that poor health literacy skills, high health system distrust, lack of health insurance coverage, knowledge, cultural beliefs and attitudes about mammography, perceived risk, language, years in the U.S., and acculturation are each independently associated with low mammography uptake. These relationships will be analyzed by conducting a population-based survey of Latinas ages 40 and over who reside in the South Texas border region (n=877). The results from the survey will be used to identify interventions that may increase mammography screening in border-dwelling Latinas, thereby reducing the burden of breast cancer in this population.
The partnership proposed here will provide UTPA investigators with the opportunity to collaborate with nationally recognized breast cancer researchers at Penn. UTPA investigators will also acquire the research experience and skills necessary to develop competitive research proposals in breast cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment, and the IPHP will be able to develop the research infrastructure necessary to build an effective transdisciplinary program in breast cancer research.