Community partnerships, food pantries, and an evidence-based intervention to increase mammography among rural women

J Rural Health. Winter 2008;24(1):91-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2008.00142.x.


Context: Multiple national agencies and organizations recommend that women age 40 years and older have an annual screening mammogram. Women who are poor, less educated, lack a usual source of care, and reside in rural Appalachia are less likely to have had a recent mammogram.

Purpose: To increase use of mammography among a rural Appalachian population.

Methods: Formed in 1992, the Indiana County Cancer Coalition (ICCC) serves the cancer control needs of medically underserved families in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, through collaborative partnerships. During 2005, the ICCC adapted and implemented the American Cancer Society's Tell a Friend program in a network of 18 local food pantries of the Indiana County Community Action Program.

Findings: Of 302 age-eligible women, 158 (52.4%) were in need of scheduling a mammogram. Of the 158 women, 138 (87.3%) received a mammogram as a result of the adapted Tell A Friend program. Three (2.2%) women were diagnosed with breast cancer and received treatment. The number of breast cancer screenings provided to underserved Indiana County residents increased by 46 (28.2%) during 2005.

Conclusions: Implementation of this evidence-based intervention in a network of local food pantries successfully provided mammography to rural women and demonstrated potential impact from a community cancer coalition in Appalachia. The initiative worked closely with local partners who are affiliated with a national infrastructure, thereby suggesting potential future dissemination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appalachian Region
  • Community Networks*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Population*