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Cancer Screening: Mass Media Targeting Clients – Cervical Cancer


What the Task Force Found

About The Systematic Review

The Task Force finding is based on evidence from a Community Guide systematic review published in 2008 (Baron et al., 2 studies, search period 1966-2004) combined with more recent evidence (1 study, search period 2004-2008). The systematic review was 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. This finding updates and replaces the 2008 Task Force finding on Cancer Screening: Mass Media Targeting Clients – Cervical Cancer [PDF - 794 kB].


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Summary of Results

Three studies qualified for the updated systematic review.

  • Effects from all three studies were in the favorable direction, but only one reported absolute changes in screening (an increase of 4.7 percentage points).

Summary of Economic Evidence

An economic review of this intervention was not conducted because the Task Force did not have enough information to determine if the intervention works.


Applicability of this intervention across different settings and populations was not assessed because the Task Force did not have enough information to determine if the intervention works.

Evidence Gaps

Each Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) review identifies critical evidence gaps—areas where information is lacking. Evidence gaps can exist whether or not a recommendation is made. In cases when the Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine whether an intervention strategy works, evidence gaps encourage researchers and program evaluators to conduct more effectiveness studies. When the Task Force recommends an intervention, evidence gaps highlight missing information that would help users determine if the intervention could meet their particular needs. For example, evidence may be needed to determine where the intervention will work, with which populations, how much it will cost to implement, whether it will provide adequate return on investment, or how users should structure or deliver the intervention to ensure effectiveness. Finally, evidence may be missing for outcomes different from those on which the Task Force recommendation is based.

Identified Evidence Gaps

The following outlines evidence gaps for mass media interventions to increase breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer screening.

  • What is the efficacy of Internet-delivered mass media campaigns and other mass approaches? Can the Internet be marshaled to create the impact of mass media at lower cost and with even greater reach?
  • What are the incremental effects of adding intervention components to other interventions?
  • What influence do newer methods of communication (e.g., the Internet, e-mail, social media, automated interactive voice response, texting) have on intervention effectiveness?
  • What is the influence of health system factors on intervention effectiveness?
  • Are interventions effective for promoting colorectal cancer screening with methods other than FOBT?
  • Are interventions to promote colorectal cancer screening equally effective when addressing colorectal cancer screening more generally, as when specific to one type of test?

Study Characteristics

The study from the updated search period assessed the effect of higher- versus lower-intensity mass media as part of a multicomponent intervention.