Peer educators have been shown to provide effective interventions in breast cancer screening. Few studies have compared the effects of peer education on breast cancer knowledge among peer educators and the community members who are subsequently reached through the peer education. Further, little is known as to whether those who received the education then go on to educate others in the community. The purpose of this study is to address those gaps. Using a pre- and post-test study design, we trained peer educators, provided the educators with resources to train community members, and assessed changes in knowledge. We sought to train ten educators and recommended each train ten community members in breast cancer knowledge and screening strategies. A total of 14 peer educators were trained, who subsequently trained a total of 121 community members, of whom 94 were African American women. Peer educators and community members, showed comparable increases in knowledge. Community members who were educated also increased intention to discuss breast cancer and breast cancer screening with their family, friends, and acquaintances. Our study suggests that it is feasible to train peer educators to increase knowledge among community members to the same level that they themselves experience when trained. Further, community members are interested in sharing information learned related to how much they learn from peer educators.
Keywords: African-Americans; Breast cancer education; Breast cancer screening; Cancer education; Lay health advisors; Mammography; Peer educators; Social engagement.