Cancer Prevention Strategies Among California Farmworkers: Preliminary Findings

J Rural Health. 1996;12(4 Suppl):343-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.1996.tb00823.x.


This study was conducted to identify barriers to cancer prevention and evaluate the effectiveness of a cancer prevention project to increase screening for cervical and breast cancer among Spanish-speaking farmworkers in California's Central Valley. Bilingual health educators met with farmworker communities near Merced and Modesto, CA, to determine barriers that prevented women from seeking screening for breast and cervical cancer. Using information from focus groups and health fairs, a targeted outreach protocol was developed that will eventually enroll 2,500 farmworkers in a cancer education and screening program. Participants received a presentation in Spanish on breast and cervical cancer that included a pretest and post-test to assess increases in knowledge. Clients were encouraged to attend Golden Valley Health Centers Inc. (GVHC) to receive free breast and cervical cancer screenings. Vouchers, redeemable for modest personal hygiene gifts by clients, were tracked to assess prevention behavior when appointments were kept at GVHC. Sixty farmworkers attended focus groups and 363 attended health fairs to provide input to The cancer prevention program. As of December 1, 1995, 1,732 female farmworkers were enrolled in an outreach program designed to increase knowledge and promote cancer screening. Data from pretests and post-tests indicated a statistically significant increase in knowledge about cancer and its prevention among participants. Furthermore, 317 participants redeemed vouchers for cancer screenings at GVHC. Active community collaboration and culturally appropriate intervention strategies, employed in conjunction with clinical services, can be successful in increasing cancer prevention awareness and screenings among female farmworkers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Fairs
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Transients and Migrants / statistics & numerical data
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*