Breast, Cervical, and Colorectal Cancer Education and Navigation: Results of a Community Health Worker Intervention

Health Promot Pract. 2016 May;17(3):353-63. doi: 10.1177/1524839915603362. Epub 2015 Sep 18.


Now that cancer has surpassed heart disease as the top cause of death for Hispanics in the United States, it is even more critical to focus on early detection of cancer in this population. We report the results of a theory-driven education-plus-navigation pilot intervention delivered by bilingual, bicultural community health workers (CHWs) with the goal of increasing cancer screening rates and knowledge among low-income Latinas. CHWs enrolled 691 eligible women, ages 18 to 75 years, considered rarely or never screened for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Eligible women were scheduled for an education session and offered health care navigation support with appointment scheduling and reminder/follow-up calls. CHWs provided education to 535 (77%) eligible women, and arranged mammograms, Pap tests, or stool blood tests for 174 (25%) participants, with another 94 (14%) placed on a waiting list at a local health center. Statistically significant positive changes on knowledge of screening guidelines for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer, and beliefs/attitudes regarding early detection were observed from pre- to posttest among eligible women who attended an educational session. Results highlight the effectiveness of CHW-directed interventions in recruiting individuals for programs, educating them, and influencing cancer knowledge and screening behavior.

Keywords: Latino; cancer prevention and control; community intervention; health disparities; health promotion; minority health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Community Health Workers / organization & administration*
  • Cultural Competency
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Patient Navigation / organization & administration*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Poverty
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Young Adult