In the United States, the Hispanic population suffers from major health disparities relative to non-Hispanic Whites. For example, this population shows low participation rates in cancer screening and other prevention programs, which indicates the need to design cancer educational programs tailored to Hispanics. The health status and health behaviors of today's Hispanic youth will play a central role in shaping the long-term health and health care needs not only of Hispanics in the United States but also of Hispanic at large. Puerto Rico currently has limited opportunities to educate young people on cancer prevention and control. The purpose of this study was to identify cancer prevention education needs, and corresponding education delivery strategies, to be implemented in cancer prevention programs targeting high school students in Puerto Rico.

The study employed a mixed sequential-exploratory design under a Community Based Participatory Research approach (CBPR). As such, cancer prevention education needs and delivery strategies were identified through group discussions held in years 2013-2014 as part of two community forums with stakeholders (n=66) representing various community sectors (e.g. cancer patients/survivors, school teachers, parents, etc. During a second phase, in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the qualitative study' findings, a quantitative study was conducted. The qualitative information collected through group discussions was used to develop a survey administered to 85 high school health teachers in Puerto Rico. Content analysis was on verbatim transcripts (group discussions) and descriptive statistics applied for quantitative data (survey). Data triangulation and interpretation was done in collaboration with the Community Advisory Panel (CAP). The CAP was developed specifically to collaborate in the process of cancer prevention activities development, implementation and outreach research data interpretation.

Themes from qualitative analysis fell into 5 main categories for children and adolescents: Importance of cancer prevention education, reaffirmation of need for disseminating cancer prevention education efforts, identification of cancer education prevention strategies, identification of resources to promote cancer prevention and, potential challenges for the implementation of cancer prevention education efforts. Survey results showed 100% of teachers agreed on the importance of shifting cancer prevention education efforts to early ages, 57% reported it was important to integrate cancer prevention education topics in high school curriculums, 74% identified the need for developing cancer prevention education and 60% identified the need to bring external resources in the form of workshops to teachers.

Study findings highlights the need to develop cancer prevention education efforts for children and adolescents in Puerto Rican schools.

Citation Format: Julio Jimenez, Jacob Matos, Eida Castro, Axel Ramos, Cynthia Cortes, Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Thomas Brandon, Clement K. Gwede, Susan Vadaparampil, Vani Simmons, Jessica McIntyre, Gloria Asencio. Community and Academia: Identifying strategies for cancer prevention education in Puerto Rico. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Ninth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2016 Sep 25-28; Fort Lauderdale, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2017;26(2 Suppl):Abstract nr A64.