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New Publication Shows it is Cost Effective to Engage Community Health Workers for Cervical and Colorectal Cancer Screening

A nurse talks to an older female patient.The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends interventions that engage community health workers to increase screening for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer. Systematic reviews of economic evidence showed these interventions were cost-effective for cervical and colorectal cancer. There was not enough evidence to determine cost-effectiveness for breast cancer interventions.

The findings from these reviews are detailed in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, available online from The Community Guide.

Attipoe-Dorcoo S, Chattopadhyay SK, Jacob V, Ekwueme DU, Sabatino SA, et al., Engaging community health workers to increase cancer screening: a Community Guide systematic economic review pdf icon [PDF - 582 KB]. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2021;60(4):E189-97.

These interventions may be implemented in communities that are underserved to improve health and may advance health equity.

What are interventions that engage community health workers?

Intervention approaches that engage community health workers to increase breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer screening implement one or more intervention approaches reviewed by the CPSTF. These approaches are divided into two strategies: increasing demand for, and improving community access to, cancer screening.

Cancer Screening Intervention by Strategy
  • Increase Community Demand
    • Group Education
    • One-on-one Education
    • Client Reminders
    • Small Media
  • Improve Community Access
    • Interventions to Reduce Structural Barriers
      • Reducing Administrative Barriers
      • Assisting with Appointment Scheduling
      • Providing Transportation
      • Providing Language Translation
      • Providing Child Care

Why is this important?

In the United States, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women External Web Site Icon, and colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women External Web Site Icon. When detected earlier through screenings, breast External Web Site Icon, cervical External Web Site Icon, and colorectal External Web Site Icon cancers are easier to treat.

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