Young Breast Cancer Survivors Program Convenes Partner Networks
In 2019, CDC funded eight organizations for 5 years to provide structured support services and resources for young breast cancer survivors (YBCS) and metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients. These services and resources are designed to increase their survival and improve their quality of life. These organizations also provide educational resources for health care providers who serve this population.
The organizations established a network of providers, survivors, and caregivers to facilitate policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change interventions that improve health care providers’ practices, remove structural barriers to care, and support healthy behaviors among YBCS and MBC patients.
In addition, award recipients were tasked with the following activities—
- Identify three to five priorities that can be addressed through PSE change strategies.
- Develop a plan describing the PSE change strategies to be implemented.
- Develop and implement a media plan.
- Form strategic alliances and conduct stakeholder outreach.
- Educate and inform key decision-makers.
Progress Toward Outcomes
Award Recipients Convened Networks
Award recipients planned and convened meetings with their networks. In some cases, the network is an advisory board or council. Partnership network activities include—
- Recruiting new network members, including fellow Young Breast Cancer Survivorship Program award recipients.
- Developing a partner communication plan and tracking process.
- Holding two network meetings with active engagement.
- Reporting an increase in members in their networks.
Award Recipients Prioritized Needs
Award recipients used several research methods to assess and prioritize the needs of YBCS and MBC patients and caregivers. The topics addressed include genetics, healthy lifestyles, patient navigation, and peer support. Strategies used to assess priority population needs include—
- Conducting environmental and policy scans.
- Collecting data via surveys, key informant interviews, or focus groups.
- Planning data collection activities; for example, by acquiring a survey tool.
Award Recipients Began Developing a Strategic PSE Change Plan
Award recipients are using findings from their needs assessment to inform a PSE change plan. One award recipient has developed its plan, and the other seven have not yet started developing a plan or are in the process of developing one.
Facilitators and Barriers to Implementation
- A network of diverse partners helped increase reach to priority populations and health care providers.
- Formative research such as an environmental scan, needs assessment, and other data helped inform program planning and activities.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, award recipients found that the work plans they initially developed were too ambitious, and it was difficult to implement all activities planned. The COVID-19 pandemic hindered communication with the public and work with partners.
Barriers Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
- No in-person activities could take place.
- Staff were assigned to other activities.
- Project partners and health care infrastructure were strained.
- Access to health care providers was limited and recruitment fell.
- Funding was decreased or redirected.
Peer Advocate Program Increases Reach
Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Young Advocate cohort was very active. It reached 12,000 people and added 121 people and 12 health care providers to its mailing list. The cohort raised $1,361 for the program and reported 475 hours of volunteer service.
Partner Communication Process Increases Efficiency
Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) developed a partner communication and tracking process that integrates activities and communication. This allows FORCE to follow and track partner engagement as well as partner commitments, and to send communications to partners that are tailored by type and interest.