Background: This paper reports the first evaluation of an intervention to increase breast and cervical cancer screening among Filipino American women.
Methods: Filipino women over 40 years of age were recruited through nine community-based organizations and six churches in Los Angeles County. After completion of a short baseline interview, all women were invited to attend a group session with some of their peers and a female Filipino health educator. Women within each organization were randomized to receive a cancer screening module (intervention) or a physical activity module (control). Telephone follow-up interviews 12 months after the group session assessed the impact of the intervention.
Results: Of the 530 women invited, 444 (84%) attended a session. At baseline and follow-up, screening rates for breast and cervical cancer did not differ between study groups. Moderate increases in screening rates (9 to 12 percentage points) were observed in both arms of the study. Among relatively recent immigrants who had spent less than 10 years in the United States, mammography screening increased substantially more in the intervention arm than under the control condition (a 27 vs 6 percentage point increase, P<0.05).
Conclusion: Our intervention was only effective in increasing cancer screening among relatively recent immigrants who had very low baseline screening rates.