Project ECHO: A Telementoring Program for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment in Low-Resource Settings
Cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates are significantly higher in low- and middle-income countries compared with the United States and other developed countries. This disparity is caused by decreased access to screening, often coupled with low numbers of trained providers offering cancer prevention and treatment services. However, similar disparities are also found in underserved areas of the United States, such as the Texas-Mexico border, where cervical cancer mortality rates are 30% higher than in the rest of Texas. To address these issues, we have adopted the Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) program, a low-cost telementoring model previously proven to be successful in increasing local capacity, improving patient management skills, and ultimately improving patient outcomes in rural and underserved areas. We use the Project ECHO model to educate local providers in the management of cervical dysplasia in a low-resource region of Texas and have adapted it to inform strategies for the management of advanced cervical and breast cancer in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. This innovative approach, using ECHO, is part of a larger strategy to enhance clinical skills and develop collaborative projects between academic centers and partners in low-resource regions.
Lopez MS, Baker ES, Milbourne AM, Gowen RM, Rodriguez AM, Lorenzoni C, Mwaba C, Msadabwe SC, Tavares JH, Fontes-Cintra G, Zucca-Matthes G, Callegaro-Filho D, Ramos-Martin D, Thiago de Carvalho I, Coelho R, Marques RM, Chulam T, Pontremoli-Salcedo M, Nozar F, Fiol V, Maza M, Arora S, Hawk ET, Schmeler KM. Project ECHO: A Telementoring Program for Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment in Low-Resource Settings. J Glob Oncol. 2016 Oct 5;3(5):658-665. doi: 10.1200/JGO.2016.005504. PMID: 29094102; PMCID: PMC5646881.