Regular cancer screenings are integral to maintaining the health of aging populations and ensuring early treatment, but access to these services can be limited for under-served populations. Furthermore, the hesitance to get screened for certain cancers, such as breast or prostate, can be a barrier to timely care. In 2016, St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam initiated Cancer Peer Education (CPE) to address these health concerns.
Using unconventional means of outreach, such as its “Free and Fun Walking Program,” and both group and one-on-one education models, St. Mary’s Healthcare aims to increase breast and prostate cancer screenings. Through educational opportunities, individuals facing barriers to care get the support necessary to address their healthcare concerns and questions about breast and prostate cancer, leading to preventive screenings. The walking program encourages healthy behavior, decreasing the risk of chronic disease.
Over a four-month period, 37 people participated in the walking program. The program goal of 100 men and 100 women educated through CPE was exceeded, with 1,055 women and 757 men educated. Twelve uninsured patients educated through CPE were screened through the hospital cancer services program.
For more information, contact Ginger Champain, Coordinator, Cancer Peer Education Project, Fulton, Montgomery, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties, St. Mary’s Healthcare, at (518) 770-6815 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.