Media contacts:
Alicia Sands Lurry, 404/616-6389,
November 6, 2002


Emory Physicians Develop Breast Cancer Multimedia CD For Patients at Grady Hospital

Women who have problems reading and understanding complex brochures about breast cancer and mammograms now have another means of grasping the same information, thanks to an interactive CD-ROM program developed by two Emory University School of Medicine physicians at Grady Memorial Hospital.

The 12-minute CD is part of a study being conducted at Grady Hospital by internists Erica Brownfield and Mark Williams, entitled Increasing Women's Health Literacy of Screening Mammography Using a Multi-Media Program. The study, made possible through educational grants from Pfizer, Inc. and the American Cancer Society, aims to increase mammography rates in women who would not ordinarily receive mammograms.

The study begins this month, and targets African-American women, who, according to Standardized Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data from 1994 to 1998, have a 35 percent higher mortality rate than white women in the United States. The Grady study is specifically targeted at women with low health literacy skills, which refers to the ability to read, understand and act appropriately on health care information. The purpose of the study is to determine whether the CD-ROM will change women's behavior about mammograms.

"Although we can educate women about breast cancer, we do not know what the most effective way is," Dr. Brownfield explained. "We're trying to keep up with the 21st century and by using multi-media CD-ROM technology, we hope to develop an educational vehicle that can be easily distributed through other hospitals throughout the city and country."

Dr. Brownfield estimates that about one-third of patients at Grady have inadequate health literacy, and up to 80 percent among women over age 60. In bypassing printed brochures, Dr. Brownfield hopes many women will receive the same information from graphics and audio on the computer.

To date, there is no other study examining a multi-media program to educate women about breast cancer and mammography.

"We're trying to change women's behavior," Dr. Brownfield said.

Upon viewing the CD, which features several breast cancer survivors sharing their personal experiences, patients are taken through a touch screen, interactive program that highlights the importance of mammography. Each woman in the video urges female viewers to have annual mammograms, explaining that early detection for breast cancer saves lives. Patients continue touching the screen to advance to other sections of the interactive program.

Drs. Brownfield and Williams plan to recruit 250 in-patients for the study. Women will then be tracked two to three months after the study to discover if they received a mammogram and whether their knowledge and attitudes changed about mammography and breast cancer.

For more information regarding the study, call (404) 616-8563.

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