Background: The Boston Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010 Breast and Cervical Cancer Coalition developed a case management intervention for women of African descent to identify and reduce medical and social obstacles to breast cancer screening and following up abnormal results.
Methods: We targeted black women at high risk for inadequate cancer screening and follow-up as evidenced by a prior pattern of missed clinic appointments and frequent urgent care use. Case managers provided referrals to address patient-identified social concerns (e.g., transportation, housing, language barriers), as well as navigation to prompt screening and follow-up of abnormal tests. We recruited 437 black women aged 40-75, who received care at participating primary care sites. The study was conducted as a prospective cohort study rather than as a controlled trial and evaluated intervention effects on mammography uptake and longitudinal screening rates via logistic regression and timely follow-up of abnormal tests via Cox proportional hazards models.
Results: A significant increase in screening uptake was found (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.13-2.08). Housing concerns (p < 0.05) and lacking a regular provider (p < 0.01) predicted poor mammography uptake. Years of participation in the intervention increased odds of obtaining recommended screening by 20% (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.02-1.40), but this effect was attenuated by covariates (p = 0.53). Timely follow-up for abnormal results was achieved by most women (85%) but could not be attributed to the intervention (HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.50-1.80).
Conclusions: Case management was successful at promoting mammography screening uptake, although no change in longitudinal patterns was found. Housing concerns and lacking a regular provider should be addressed to promote mammography uptake. Future research should provide social assessment and address social obstacles in a randomized controlled setting to confirm the efficacy of social determinant approaches to improve mammography use.