Alerta Rosa: Novel Alert and Navigation Breast Cancer Program in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, for Reducing Health System Interval Delays
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© AlphaMed Press 2018Background: In Mexico, the median time between breast cancer (BC) symptom detection and treatment initiation is approximately 7 months. Alerta Rosa is a program that was developed with the intent of breaking down medical care barriers and reduce delays. Patients and Methods: Through several media campaigns, we reached out to patients with breast symptoms or abnormal imaging studies. Patients contacted our call center or Facebook page. A navigator recorded their main complaint and scheduled a medical consultation with a specialist. We prioritized patients according to clinical risk. Those diagnosed with BC were referred to their health affiliation unit for care. Results: To date, 656 patients have contacted our program. Median age was 44 years (range, 7¿82). Patients reported becoming aware of Alerta Rosa mainly by word of mouth and TV. A total of 446 medical consultations were scheduled, and 309 patients attended their appointments. A biopsy procedure was solicited for 39 patients, and 22 were diagnosed with BC. Most patients had stage II (45%) or stage III (32%) disease. The median time from alert activation to treatment initiation was 33 days (range, 19¿56) and from first medical evaluation to treatment initiation was 28 days (range, 16¿48). Conclusion: In low- or middle-income countries, where BC screening programs do not effectively reach the target population, it is crucial to focus efforts in identifying and prioritizing symptomatic patients or those with abnormal imaging studies to ultimately downstage BC. Alerta Rosa proved to be successful in reducing health system intervals and could be replicated and adapted for other limited resource settings. Implications for Practice: In countries such as Mexico, infrastructure and financial drawbacks limit the implementation of effective screening mammography programs. This article presents a novel and effective alternative to optimize resources and reduce health system intervals, so that patients in limited-resource settings can have access to prompt quality care. This strategy for early breast cancer detection focused efforts in prioritizing symptomatic women and those with abnormal breast imaging studies. This article presents novel information that will be useful for the development of effective early breast cancer detection with a focus on opportunistic rather than population-screening mammography in low-resource settings.