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A Cost-effective Way to Increase Cancer Screening? Target Social Determinants of Health

A woman gets a mammogram.Interventions that address social determinants of health to increase cancer screening rates among underserved populations in the United States are cost-effective, according to an article in JAMA Oncology. Researchers reviewed all available evidence to answer questions raised during the CPSTF reviews of economic evidence for multicomponent interventions and interventions that engage community health workers to increase cancer screening. Findings from this review may be useful to decision makers interested in leveraging social determinants of health to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening rates and to promote health equity.

Mohan G, Chattopadhyay S. Cost-effectiveness of leveraging social determinants of health to improve breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening: a systematic review External Web Site Icon. JAMA Oncology 2020;6(9):1434-44.

What are Social Determinants of Health?

Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments where people live, learn, work, and play that affect health risks and outcomes. Healthy People 2030 External Web Site Icon defines five key domains for social determinants: economic stability, education access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context.

Why is this important?

  • Health disparities in the U.S. have contributed to approximately $93 billion in excess medical care costs and $42 billion in productivity losses from related premature deaths per year in 2018.1
  • For breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, persistent screening disparities exist in the U.S., especially for individuals who are uninsured or with no usual source of health care.2

Learn more:


1 Turner A. The Business Case for Racial Equity. W.K. Kellogg Foundation;2018.

2 Hall IJ, Tangka FKL, Sabatino SA, Thompson TD, Graubard BI, Breen N. Patterns and Trends in Cancer Screening in the United States. Prev Chronic Dis. 2018;15:E97.