Objectives: Breast and cervical cancer are common among Latinas, but screening rates among foreign-born Latinas are relatively low. In this article we describe the design and implementation of a theory-based (PEN-3) outreach program to promote breast and cervical cancer screening to Latina immigrants, and evaluate the program's effectiveness.
Methods: We used data from self-administered questionnaires completed at six annual outreach events to examine the sociodemographic characteristics of attendees and evaluate whether the program reached the priority population - foreign-born Latina immigrants with limited access to health care and screening services. To evaluate the program's effectiveness in connecting women to screening, we examined the proportion and characteristics of women who scheduled and attended Pap smear and mammography appointments.
Results: Among the 782 Latinas who attended the outreach program, 60% and 83% had not had a Pap smear or mammogram, respectively, in at least a year. Overall, 80% scheduled a Pap smear and 78% scheduled a mammogram. Women without insurance, who did not know where to get screening and had not been screened in the last year were more likely to schedule appointments (P < .05). Among women who scheduled appointments, 65% attended their Pap smear and 79% attended the mammogram. We did not identify significant differences in sociodemographic characteristics associated with appointment attendance.
Conclusions: Using a theoretical approach to outreach design and implementation, it is possible to reach a substantial number of Latina immigrants and connect them to cancer screening services.