Breast Cancer early Detection Program for Underserved Women or Women at Higher Risk for Breast Cancer
Project location: ITALY, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, Campania, Puglia
Project start date: December 2011 - Project end date: July 2012
Project number: 2011-41
Beneficiary: Susan G. Komen Italia onlus
Komen Italia is strongly committed, since 2001, in offering free screening exams especially to underserved women, or women not involved in public screening programs or women at a higher risk for breast cancer.
Komen Italia organizes special "Early detection days", using its Mobile Mammography Unit, at the venue of the partner organizations (such as charity organizations, convents, prisons, etc). During these events, free mammograms, breast ultrasound exams, clinical breast exams are offered to women that have not undergone such exams in the previous 12 months. Therefore, the women served not have to go to the hospital, and this for many reasons facilitate their compliance with the early detection guidelines.
The aim of the project was to organize 4 additional "Early Detection Days" as there was a growing request for this kind of opportunity. These days were organized at Carcere Femminile di Rebibbia (2 days- March, 22nd and 23rd, 2012), Jubilee Centre (Nuns Congregation- March 25th, 2012) and Almaviva (workers on a redundancy payment - April, 18th, 2012). Komen Italia has decided to organize the Early Detection Days to benefit these categories of women for a number of reasons.
First of all, inmates and nuns are less compliant to early detection guidelines. The scarce willingness to undergo clinical periodic breast examinations because of their social status and higher difficulties in accessing diagnostic services as well as the lack of adequate information about the importance of early detection, all results in more frequent diagnostic delays and hence in more severe prognosis. Moreover, nuns and particularly elderly nuns, do represent a category of women at high-risk of breast cancer. The lack of pregnancies and of breast-feeding and the old age exposes them to a significantly higher incidence of the disease.
As far as concerns women with economic problems, such as workers on a redundancy payment, Komen Italia has decided to remind them the message about the importance of early detection also in a moment in which they are vulnerable. For every women aged under 40 has been offered a free breast clinic examination and breast ultrasound examination (if advised), while women aged over 40 has also received a mammogram (unless they have undergone this procedure in the previous 12 months).
These exams has been performed by specialized medical staff of the Gemelli Hospital (composed by a qualified radiologist, a breast surgeon and a radiologic technician, assisted by a volunteer who has welcome the women, collected their data, given information, given immediately the medical report and the iconography on CD), using a Mobile Screening Unit.
The availability of a Mobile Screening Unit is the key point of the project. The possibility to provide free detection exams directly at their sites has encouraged women to take advantage of the screening opportunities, eliminating those logistic and organizational difficulties which often represent a critical barrier to the observance of the early detection strategies.
If any diagnostic or therapeutic need resulted necessary, access to the Multidisciplinary Breast Center of Policlinico Gemelli of Rome has been guaranteed.
During these 4 Early Detection Days, 153 women have benefited from free breast examinations for an amount of 360 health benefits.