Community Education of Personalized Breast Cancer Therapy Utilizing Students of HealthCare Professions
Clinical Medicine Research
Health literacy is a growing problem that can further lead to altered decision making, an amplified variety of health conditions, and decreased survival rates. This study demonstrates that by providing brief, educational seminars to medically underserved members of local communities, we could improve patients' basic knowledge of breast cancer and explain specific treatment options that are available. Through this expanded knowledge, it is expected that patients will take a more active role in
... re active role in their own healthcare. Methods: The study began by developing a PowerPoint; based on a fifth grade reading level so all levels of education could be involved and understand how to respond. Topics such as breast cancer statistics, incidence rates, screening, risk factors, signs and symptoms, genetic testing and markers, and treatment were combined in order to give a diversity of subjects patients would benefit from in regards to breast cancer. Once created, pharmacy students reached out to local underserved communities to raise awareness about breast cancer and the many options patients have. Patients were given a pre-presentation survey in order to assess their basic knowledge of breast cancer. The survey consisted of a one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree) key to measure the patients understanding of various topics related to breast cancer. After the pre-presentation survey was completed, an educational breast cancer PowerPoint was presented. Questions were then asked and a post-survey (with the same questions as the pre-survey) was given in order to determine whether the presentation met its primary goal of elevating patient's awareness of breast cancer. Results: Whether breast cancer naïve or a survivor, the majority of the patients present reported expanded knowledge of breast cancer and felt that they were more confident in taking initiative in their healthcare. With an alpha level set at 0.05, all of the questions showed statistical significance. Three key elements that showed the greatest improvement of gained knowledge involved the causes of breast cancer (pre-score 2.9-post-score 4.6 (standard deviation 1.69)), signs and symptoms of breast cancer (prescore 3.5-post-score 4.5 (standard deviation 0.96)), and treatment options available to the public (pre-score 3.3-post-score 4.6 (standard deviation 1.31)). This suggests that at baseline, the patients were comparatively less aware and educated on breast cancer then after the presentation, when the post-survey was given. By presenting the material with a pre-and postpresentation survey, this enables the amount of knowledge gained by participants to be measured, and helps shape future presentations to guarantee maximum awareness to the patients attending. Conclusion: By this study, it can be concluded that pharmacists play a vital role in increasing health literacy and perhaps a subsequent improvement in survival rates by promoting breast cancer education and community outreach. By utilizing pharmacy students as presenters, this enables patients to have their medication questions answered, but also provides a platform for furthering pharmacy student's education and skills as they develop into healthcare providers. The students also serve as a reminder that pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare provider, and a valuable resource for medical information and referrals.