Mayor Dannel P. Malloy

Breast & Prostate Cancer Awareness Program: A Model for Health Promotio 

Last year, the city launched the Breast & Prostate Cancer Awareness Program, a community campaign designed to build awareness of these diseases and urge people to have regular screenings. The program was kicked off by a press conference at the Stamford Government Center and garnered area media attention. Major components of the effort included the production and airing of the "Itís Best to Test" video; a special "Best of Health" cable television program segment; radio and print public service advertising; posters and flyers spread throughout the city; a press conference; and various screening and educational events held throughout the first week in June.

Using Existing Health .Promotions in 1999

While the 1998 campaign was successful, the 1999 organizers decided to strengthen the initiative by capitalizing on existing health promotions. To this end, they dovetailed the breast and prostate cancer screening campaign with the ongoing cancer .education and risk prevention efforts of .the Stamford Health System. In order to demonstrate this partnership and allow .sufficient time for screening sign up, the campaign was officially launched in May during the health systemís "WALK Week." This major health event started a month .of various educational activities designed .to promote overall cancer awareness.

Stamford citizens had the opportunity .to sign up for breast and prostate cancer screenings throughout this month of cancer awareness activities, which culminated in "Itís Best to Test" week. Screenings took place at several locations around the city during this period, which ended with the annual "Bennett Cancer Center WALK" .on Sunday, June 6, 1999.

Outreach through a Public Information Blitz

The 1999 organizers decided to give full weight to a public information saturation campaign to get the awareness message out to the community. They came up with events and materials designed to reach every Stamford citizen, relying on four key elements as described below.

Partnership with Stamford Health System

The partnership with the Stamford Health System played an important role in the success of this yearís effort. As was the case last year, the health system helped facilitate and deliver the mammograms and Prostate Specific Antigen tests provided to city residents. This year the health systemís participation was made more "official," which enabled the campaign organizers to tap into further resources and existing communications vehicles to extend awareness for the breast and prostate cancer program. In addition to individual resources, the partnership delivered:

  • Production of a print public service announcement which ran inThe Advocate (Stamfordís daily local news-paper) during "Itís Best to Test" week;

  • Production of approximately 14,000 .flyers which were distributed through-.out the course of the program;

  • Inclusion in WALK promotional materials, including press releases and a special newspaper insert;

  • Inclusion in the health systemís May/June Calendar of Events that is distributed by mail to over 10,000 residents and also runs in The Advocate and Greenwich Time once a month.

  • Participation and support at the kickoff event, including coordination of the art display that remained in the Stamford Government Center lobby throughout the campaign.

Public Service Announcements

Relationships with the local media were leveraged, using public service time and space to extend awareness for the campaign. Key public service announcement (PSA) events were:

  • Mayor Malloy recorded a 60-second PSA that ran on WSTC-AM, Stamfordís local news-radio station, throughout the month of May;

  • Stamford Health System produced a print PSA that ran in The Advocate .during "Itís Best to Test" week;

  • The breast cancer awareness PSA .that Mayor Malloy recorded at the Conference of Mayors 1999 Winter Meeting was aired on local cable .stations; and

  • For added continuity from the 1998 campaign to the 1999 campaign, .local cable stations also ran the "Best .of Health" program recorded last .year to promote breast and prostate .cancer awareness.

Kickoff Event

To launch the second annual campaign .and announce the partnership with Stamford Health System, the organizers held a media event in the lobby of the Stamford Government Center on May 4, 1999. Speakers included: Mayor Malloy; Stamford Health System Vice President of Corporate Planning, Gail Evans; and two city employees who are cancer survivors, Jack Leydon and Lillian Little.

In symbolizing the partnership between the city and its major health care provider, Mayor Malloy and Ms. Evans unveiled a special art exhibit with work done by patients at the Bennett Cancer Center. .The event received great coverage which included WABC-TV Eyewitness News .out of New York City, The Advocate, Cablevision News 12, Connecticut Public Radio; and WGCH-AM.

Community Relationships

The cityís Senior Center helped promote the program through its existing communications vehicles. Information about the campaign and individual screenings were included in the monthly senior flyer and newsletter.

The organizers enlisted the support of The Ferguson Library again for the 1999 campaign. In addition to setting up a display .of books and educational information at the main branch, the library also produced a comprehensive resource list for those looking for further information on breast and prostate cancer. This list included books in English and Spanish, audio/video resources, Web sites, and health database electronic addresses. The government .center, as well as at the five library branches around the city, made the list available to visitors and patrons.

The Stamford Post Office lent its support by tying in the unveiling of a new prostate cancer awareness stamp with the cityís first prostate cancer screening event. Working with representatives from the post office, the organizers arranged for the new stamp to be sold in the lobby of the government .center during the first day of screening. They further coordinated the time that .the postmaster went for his screening for prostate cancer with a photo opportunity for the local media.

Referral and Follow-up

There were referral and follow-up procedures in place for both men and women tested as part of Stamfordís campaign.

Those men whose Prostate Specific Antigen test result was greater than 2.0 received notification via mail that they should call to schedule a Digital Rectal Exam. Once this additional test was completed, a physician could then recommend further treatment if necessary.

All women who received mammograms were notified of their test results via mail, as were their designated physician/health clinics. Women with abnormal readings were advised to seek further testing, and their health care providers were encouraged to follow-up with their patients. It was ultimately up to the individual to pursue any additional testing.

Overall Results

Nearly 200 people were screened during the breast and prostate cancer awareness campaign. This turnout was due to the public information saturation campaign that received such strong support from the media as follows:

  • A one-page ad ran in The Advocate .as a public service.

  • 100 public service announcements .on WSTC-AM radio played during .the month.

  • Local cable stations aired the mayorís breast cancer PSA video 45 times.

  • Over 33,700 printed pieces were .distributed throughout the area.

  • The Stamford Health Systemís Calendar of Activities was printed in both .The Advocate and Greenwich Time.

  • Over 1.6 million estimated media impressions were generated as a result .of promotional efforts.

For more information, please contact:

Beverly A. Aveni
Mayorís Executive Aide