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The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

UT Extension TEAM Up Tennessee

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TEAM UP Tennessee: Breast and Cervical Education and
Screening Program

Border PhotoObjectives

  • To establish partnerships between the county UT Extension educators, the county health department's Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening staff members, The American Cancer Society Mid-South Division and the Mid-South Cancer Information Service.
  • To promote the breast and cervical cancer screening services available in their counties.
  • To develop, implement and evaluate county-specific strategies to increase awareness about these screening services to rarely and/or never screened, low income, older, underinsured and uninsured women.
  • To integrate strategies from other successful programs in order to contribute to the growing body of evidence-based programming for breast and cervical cancer awareness.

The Tennessee Cancer Plan Goal for 2013-2017 for Breast and Cervical Cancers is:

  • Reduce breast and cervical cancer mortality through increased awareness, early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

Our Challenge

Low income, older, underinsured and uninsured women in rural areas commonly do not access screening services for breast and cervical cancer. There are a variety of barriers for why these women do not utilize these services including:

  • Not knowing that the services are available through their public health department.
  • Lack of transportation.
  • Poverty.
  • Obesity.
  • Services not available at night or on the weekends.
  • Funding Opportunities

    Susan G. Komen for the Cure Affiliates in Tennessee
    Contact your affiliate to apply for funding to conduct breast cancer education and screening.

  • Underinsured or uninsured.
  • Belief that older women do not need these screenings.
  • Cost of the screening.
  • Belief that they are not personally at risk of developing these cancers.
  • Fear and embarrassment.
  • Language and culture.
  • Fear of finding cancer.

The challenge is how to increase screening rates among these women especially in counties with high mortality rates for beast and cervical cancers.

Program Strategies for Reaching Tennessee Women

TEAM UP TN combines the educational delivery system of the University of Tennessee Extension with the screening services of the Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program of the Tennessee Department of Health through county-based TEAM UP TN partnerships.

Evidence-based intervention strategies have been adapted from a successful research project, Forsyth County Cancer Screening Project.

Strategies are divided into two types: community-based and clinical-based.

Community-based Strategies

  • Women’s events, such as Women’s Tea, Mother Daughter Tea, Pamper Me Day and luncheons, which included vendors with a health focus including breast and cervical cancer screening information
  • Church-sponsored programs
  • Educational materials
  • Educational incentive materials with the message: Cancer Screening Saves Lives
  • Mass media: television shows, radio, newspaper articles
  • Educational presentations
  • Local business promotional campaign

Clinical-based Strategies

  • In-service and primary care training for health care providers
  • Visual prompts in the exam room
  • Abnormal test protocol
  • Educational literature and exhibits in the waiting area
  • One-on-one counseling and letters for abnormal test results follow-up
  • Screening services offered by county health departments
  • Free Screening Days sponsored by the county health departments
  • Free Screening Days with services offered through the UT Cancer Institute Mammography van

Impact of TEAM UP TN Partnership

This community outreach partnership brings cancer education and screening services directly to community members and serves to contribute to increasing cancer screening rates among target audiences. The successful outcomes of these county-level partnerships energizes county partners to continue working together. County-level partnerships can develop interventions that address the unique access and cultural barriers encountered by women in a specific county. This county-based partnership strategy was pilot tested in eleven rural, Appalachian counties from 2005 through July 2007. Screening rates significantly increased in the eleven pilot counties as compared with the control counties. Rural women improved their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors about breast and cervical cancer screening. Findings included the following:

  • TEAM UP TN reached the never and rarely screened woman.
  • TEAM UP TN interventions increased screening rates among the target audience - women aged 50 thru 64.
  • County partnerships do work in expanding outreach to rural Appalachian women with education and screening services.
  • Combining the outreach capacity of UT Extension with the service delivery of TBCSP, rural women are increasing their understanding about the need for screening and are seeking screening services in their communities.
  • Women will seek breast and cervical cancer screening services if made convenient, culturally sensitive and with no additional cost to them.
  • Women will seek screening services if they understand the benefits to their health.
  • Interventions focusing on social and religious settings have allowed TEAM UP TN to reach older women, African American women and Latino women in rural Appalachia.

For more details about this pilot project refer to the Pilot Program Fact Sheet, Rural Outreach Makes a Difference: Increasing Breast and Cervical Screening Among Rural Appalachian Women.

Do you want to form a TEAM UP TN Partnership in Your County?

Contact your county UT Extension educator to discuss how to establish a team of county partners who want to improve womens’ understanding and access to breast and cervical cancer education and screening.