by Emily Vontom, Published February 22, 2012
Tsu-Win Wu, a nursing professor at Eastern Michigan University, was recently awarded a $134,552 grant that will help increase breast cancer awareness and screening for women in China and Taiwan. The grant was awarded by the Susan G. Komen for a Cure foundation.
Wu's project, Take Care of Yourself and Help Others: Breast Health and Breast Cancer Screening in China and Taiwan, will use trained lay health advisors to work with women in underserved areas.
"The number of Chinese women with breast cancer has surged by more than 20 percent. The rates are even higher in major cities," said Wu. "The increase is mainly due to Westernized lifestyles as well as the cultural stigmas associated with cancer and the lack of breast health knowledge and screening."
Wu will lead a staff from the Healthy Asian Americans Project (HAAP) and use the Lay Health Advisors (LHA) model to recruit and train medical professionals. The professionals will provide services to breast cancer survivors and their families as well as enhance coordination and delivery of breast health and breast cancer services.
During a 2008 sabbatical study, Wu discovered that 61 percent of Chinese women age 45 and older and 48 percent of Taiwanese women never had a mammogram and/or ultrasound for breast cancer screening.
Without cancer screening, more women are being diagnosed in the later stages with a 10-year survival rate of less than 10 percent. Wu said that many women are diagnosed with breast cancer at the late stages and have to face the illness alone.
"The project has great potential for changing the outlook of effective cancer control in China and Taiwan," said Wu. "This project will increase awareness and promote screening among the general public that increases the prognosis of breast cancer and improves the quality of life."