Winkleby Lab In the Prevention Research Center

Cancer-related Health Behaviors and Screening Practices in Latina Women

Proposed work:

The proposed work will delineate subgroups of high-risk women within a representative sample of Latinos in Monterey County. This population has high levels of cancer-related risk factors and low levels of medical care access and screening, and is therefore in need of interventions tailored to their special needs. In 2000, Dr. Winkleby received a grant from the California Cancer Research Program in collaboration with the Monterey County Health Department. This work built on the expertise of Dr. Winkleby’s multi-disciplinary collaborative team that has strong expertise in ethnic-specific research, using both quantitative and qualitative data and rigorous analytic methods.

The main aim of the initial work was to determine the prevalence of cancer-related risk factors and health care access and screening practices related to the diagnosis and treatment of cervical, colorectal and breast cancers. This information is being used by Monterey County to promote and implement tailored programs using a community development model that empowers the Latino community to address cancer control issues at the individual, family, and community levels. The long-term goal of this work is to facilitate programs that promote the maintenance and/or adoption of positive health behaviors and early detection of prevalent and treatable cancers in Latinos.

To determine the prevalence of risk factors and screening practices, Dr. Winkleby helped design and implement a cross-sectional telephone survey of a representative sample of Latino women and men (predominantly Mexican-American), aged 18-64 in from Monterey County. This yielded a rich data base that includes high quality information on over 800 Latino women and men that is now available for further analyses that focus on women.

The work of the initial grant has been completed. While there was no funding to examine issues related specifically to women, this application would allow Dr. Winkleby to investigate several important questions that have public health relevance to Latina women. She is therefore proposing to take this initial work a step further and explore cancer health behaviors and screening practices in Latina women. This work will enhance knowledge about a large group of medically underserved women who are often overlooked in medical research and who will comprise 25% of women in the U.S. by 2050.


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