Prev Med. 1995 Sep; 24(5): 447-53.
A breast and cervical cancer project in a native Hawaiian community: Wai'anae cancer research project.
Wai'anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Hawaii, USA.
BACKGROUND. This article describes a breast and cervical cancer control project in a Native Hawaiian community and presents preliminary findings from its first year. The project is community driven, with Native Hawaiian community investigators and advisors involved in all phases of the research project. Its purpose is to test the effectiveness of a culturally appropriate intervention as a means of increasing breast and cervical cancer screening practices among Native Hawaiian women. METHODS. This article discusses the process of community participation in the development of a baseline survey as well as selected findings from that survey. A baseline telephone survey was conducted to obtain an initial assessment of community knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to cancer. Community representatives were an integral part of the research team that planned and implemented the survey. RESULTS. A total of 1,260 women drawn equally from the study and the control communities participated in the survey. A majority of those surveyed in both communities indicated adherence to cancer screening recommendations. Seventy-three percent of the women reported having obtained a Pap test during the past 2 years. Fifty-nine percent of women over 40 years of age reported having had a mammogram during the past 2 years. Twenty-eight percent reported having used Hawaiian remedies within the past year. Thirty-six percent of the women reported encouraging others to obtain cancer screening services. DISCUSSION. Though a majority of the target population are following cancer screening guidelines, a significant minority are not. While the project intervention aims to change the screening behavior of women not currently getting cancer screening, it plans to do so by enlisting the women already in compliance to reach others in their social networks who are currently not getting cancer screening. The involvement of community representatives, working alongside researchers, in baseline survey planning helped assure the survey was acceptable to the participants and the community as a whole. This process is illustrative of a participatory research commitment which underlies success in the early phase of this Native Hawaiian research project.