The Puerto Rico Community Cancer Control Outreach Program: Developing Capacity-Building Activities on Cancer Screening Guidelines and HPV Vaccination Recommendations for Health Care Professionals

Vivian Colón-López, Camille Vélez-Alamo, Lizbeth Medina-Cortés, Marievelisse Soto-Salgado, Alelí Ayala-Marín, Adrianna I. Acevedo-Fontanez, Alejandra M. Rivera-Irizarry, Marta Sánchez-Aracil, Omayra Salgado-Cruz, Guillermo Tortolero-Luna


Objective: This study evaluated physicians’ knowledge of cancer screening guidelines and human papillomavirus (HPV) recommendations. Methods: The Puerto Rico Community Cancer Control Outreach Program in collaboration with the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program developed an educational activity for physicians who attended a professional annual meeting. This activity consisted of 2 sessions: one about cancer screening guidelines and the other about HPV and HPV vaccination. A survey measuring the attendees’ knowledge of the session topics was administered before and after each session. Changes in knowledge were assesed using McNemar’s test with a significance level of 0.05. Results: A total of 43 physicians responded to the survey about cancer screening, and 67 responded to the survey about HPV. A significant increase in the mean score of the pre-test (3.3 ± 1.42) and post-test (6.7 ± 1.38) of the cancer screening guidelines was observed as well as in that of the pre-test (7.82 ± 1.44) and post-test (9.66 ± 0.53) of HPV. The results showed that there were improvements regarding the most recent cervical cancer screening and colonoscopy guidelines as well as in the knowledge of HPV serotypes. Conclusion: This mid-day educational activity significantly improved knowledge among primary care physicians. Given its feasibility, future efforts should discuss the most recent cancer guidelines and emerging socio behavioral factors that impact vaccination.


capacity building; community outreach; cancer screening guidelines; HPV; Puerto Rico

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