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Celebrate 10 Years with Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.

Increasing Cancer Screening: Client Incentives

Client incentives are small, non-coercive rewards (e.g., cash or coupons) that aim to motivate people to seek cancer screening for themselves or to encourage others (e.g., family members, close friends) to seek screening. Incentives are distinct from interventions designed to improve access to services (e.g., transportation, child care, reducing client out-of-pocket costs).

Summary of Task Force Recommendations and Findings

The Community Preventive Services Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of using client incentives to increase screening for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancers because only one study for breast cancer and no studies for cervical and colorectal cancers qualified for review.

Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement

Results from the Systematic Reviews

The Task Force findings are based on evidence from a previously completed review (search period 1966-2004) and an updated review (search period 2004-2008). Updates of reviews are conducted to incorporate more recent evidence.

Read a summary of findings from the previous review or visit the Cancer Prevention and Control section of our publications page to access the complete articles.

Breast Cancer

No studies of breast cancer screening were identified during the previous review. One study that targeted low-income, or under or un-insured women was included in the update.

  • When added to other types of interventions, the incremental effect for client incentives was an increase of 0.52 percentage points (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.32, 0.72).

Cervical Cancer

No studies evaluating the effect of client incentives on cervical cancer screening qualified for the review.

Colorectal Cancer

No studies evaluating the effect of client incentives on colorectal cancer screening qualified for the review.

These findings were based on a systematic review of all available studies, conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to cancer prevention and control.

Supporting Materials


Sabatino SA, Lawrence B, Elder R, Mercer SL, Wilson KM, DeVinney B, Melillo S, Carvalho M, Taplin S, Bastani R, Rimer BK, Vernon SW, Melvin CL, Taylor V, Fernandez M, Glanz K, Community Preventive Services Task Force. Effectiveness of interventions to increase screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers: nine updated systematic reviews for The Guide to Community Preventive Services. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 235 kB] Am J Prev Med 2012;43(1):765-86.

Community Preventive Services Task Force. Updated recommendations for client- and provider-oriented interventions to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening. Adobe PDF File [PDF - 90 kB]. Am J Prev Med 2012;43(1):760-4.

Read other Community Guide publications about Cancer Prevention and Control in our library.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation:
Guide to Community Preventive Services. Increasing cancer screening: client incentives. www.thecommunityguide.org/cancer/screening/client-oriented/incentives.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: July 2010