Interactive phone messages aid cancer screening

Interactive Phone Messages May Promote Cancer Screening
Interactive Phone Messages May Promote Cancer Screening

(HealthDay News) -- Underserved Latina patients view interactive voice response (IVR) messages as an acceptable strategy to promote cancer screening, according to a study published online March 13 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

Mary L. Greaney, Ph.D., from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, and colleagues conducted seven focus groups with 40 Latina community health center patients in need of one or more cancer screenings. Five of the groups were for women in need of one screening (breast, cervical, or colorectal) and two were for women who required multiple screenings. Content analysis was utilized to identify emerging themes.

The researchers found that there was familiarity with cancer screening, which participants viewed positively. However, being unaware of being overdue for screening; lack of referral, lack of or insufficient insurance coverage, embarrassment or fear of the procedure, and fear of the outcome were identified as barriers to screening. Women who needed single screening expressed greater worry about the outcome, while those in need of multiple screenings were more concerned about the procedures. The participants were receptive to IVR messages, and felt that they would be motivated to schedule needed screening with culturally appropriate messages that specified needed screenings, while highlighting the benefit of preventive screening.

"Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of IVR messages in promoting completion of cancer screening," the authors write.

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