Health in Your Hands

Health in Your Hands is an outreach program to detect and prevent cervical cancer through free do-it-yourself kits done in the privacy of your own home. Early detection of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is key for the treatment of cervical cancer.

You may be eligible to participate if you are:

  • A Hispanic, Haitian or African-American woman,
  • Between the ages of 30 and 65, and
  • Have not had a Pap test in the past three years or longer.

The benefits of participating are:

  • There is no cost,
  • It is convenient,
  • It is more private, and
  • One-on-one attention and information puts you at ease.

Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) outreach workers go out into the public and recruit eligible women at churches, supermarkets, schools and community centers. Then the outreach worker will meet you at your home or in a neutral location like a library or restaurant to complete a survey. The questionnaire collects data on demographics including age, race, country of birth, address, and number of family members in household.

Within two weeks of the interview, you will either be mailed a kit or it will be dropped off in person by the outreach worker. You can then mail the completed kit back in a self-addressed stamped envelope or the outreach worker can take it.

The kit tests for HPV since persistent infection with certain HPV strains is the major cause of most cases of cervical cancer. If you test positive for HPV, the University of Miami offers complimentary follow-up visits and treatment.

Because high rates of cervical cancer in Hispanic and African-American women are primarily due to a lack of screening and unequal access to health care, CHI is joining in the initiative to help women in our area. CHI outreach workers not only help participants complete the Health in Your Hands kit, they also connect them to other medical, educational or community programs if needed. For example, one participant said, “I never had someone like you help me the way you did,” according to CHI Outreach Worker Linabell Lopez.

Health in Your Hands is a follow-up to a South Florida Center for Reducing Cancer Disparities (SUCCESS) study conducted between 2010 and 2015. The study reached out to medically underserved Haitian and Hispanic communities in Miami-Dade County to reduce the high rates of cervical cancer.

Health in Your Hands, which started in January 2015, is coordinated by the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, which was awarded a grant by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. The grant compares cervical cancer screening interventions that were tested in the previous study. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of cervical cancer, in addition to any type of cancer, and to get women access to health care for regular checkups to prevent or treat diseases.

To find out if you qualify to participate in Health in Your Hands, call CHI Outreach Worker Linabell Lopez at 786-236-3875.

More information about HPV can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/

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