Engaging Community Health Workers to Increase Cancer Screening is Effective and Cost-Effective

Two women sitting on a couch while talking.The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends interventions that engage community health workers to increase screening for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer. Evidence from systematic reviews reported interventions were effective when community health workers were engaged independently or as part of a team.

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.

These interventions typically are implemented in underserved communities to improve health and can enhance 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, and colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women. When detected earlier through cancer screenings, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers are easier to treat.

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