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Researchers seek women's input on cancer screening tests

BY SHARON BARDONNER - sbardonner@ftimes.com

Women throughout Indiana and Ohio have the opportunity to tell researchers what they think and how they feel about cancer screening tests.

Clinton County women between the ages of 50 and 74, who are able to speak and read English, may be eligible to participate.

Researchers at Indiana University and Ohio State University want to learn the extent of women’s knowledge, as well as their beliefs and attitudes, about these diagnotic tools. Their goal is to find better ways to help women understand how screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers can save their lives.

The study, called the RISE (Rural Interventions for Screening Effectiveness) Project, encourages women to take charge of their health to promote earlier detection and reduce the number of fatalities from breast, cervical or colon cancer. The study is funded by the National Cancer Institute and does not require in-person visits.

Researchers say it is important to determine the barriers that prevent women from getting cancer screenings and find ways to encourage every woman to get these routine tests.

The research team, under the direction of Victoria Champion, Ph.D., at Indiana University and Electra Paskett, Ph.D., at Ohio State University, are currently contacting 5,000 randomly selected women and inviting them to join the study.

“We are contacting women from rural communities and from underserved populations because they face a higher incidence of cancer and a higher mortality rate than women in urban areas,” Dr. Champion said. “Also, women from rural areas are more likely to not take advantage of screening options. It’s our hope that we’ll learn how to help women in rural Indiana and Ohio get these life-saving tests.”

Most women who are selected to join the study will be asked to devote less than one hour over a one-year period. Participants will be asked to complete phone interviews and mailed paper surveys, and they may be asked to review study materials. Those who complete the study will receive a gift card.

Women interested in participating or who have questions can contact Cathy Tatum at 877-304-2273, option 1. Additional information about the study can be found on the Hoosier Women for Healthy Indiana’s Facebook page; search for “Hoosier Women for Healthy Indiana.”

Dr. Champion is a distinguished professor at Indiana University and the Edward W. and Sarah Stam Cullipher Chair at IU School of Nursing. She also is the associate director of population science and community engagement at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. Dr. Paskett is the Marion N. Rowley Professor of Cancer Research at Ohio State University.