A Community-Based Partnership to Successfully Implement and Maintain a Breast Health Navigation Program

J Community Health. 2015 Dec;40(6):1216-23. doi: 10.1007/s10900-015-0051-z.


Breast cancer screening combined with follow-up and treatment reduces breast cancer mortality. However, in the study clinic, only 12 % of eligible women ≥40 years received a mammogram in the previous year. The objective of this project was to implement patient navigation, in our partner health clinic to (1) identify women overdue for a mammogram; and (2) increase mammography utilization in this population over a 2-year period. Women overdue for a mammogram were identified. One patient navigator made navigation attempts over a 2-year period (2009-2011). Navigation included working around systems- and individual-level barriers to receive a mammogram as well as the appropriate follow-up post screening. Women were contacted up to three times to initiate navigation. The proportion of women navigated and who received a mammogram during the study period were compared to women who did not receive a mammogram using Chi square tests for categorical variables and t tests for continuous variables with an α = 0.05. Barriers to previous mammography were also assessed. With 94.8 % of eligible women navigated and 94 % of these women completing mammography, the implementation project reached 89 % of the target population. This project was a successful implementation of an evidence-based patient navigation program that continues to provide significant impact in a high-need area. Cost was the most commonly cite barrier to mammography. Increasing awareness of resources in the community for mammography and follow-up care remains a necessary adjunct to removing structural and financial barriers to accessing preventive services.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Disparities; Mammography; Patient navigation; Screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Navigation / organization & administration*
  • Patient Navigation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors