Background: To reduce breast cancer mortality, ways to promote the use of mammography screening among women age 50 and above are needed. Community organization may be a useful approach.
Methods: The Washington State Community Breast Cancer Screening Project involved implementation of promotional activities initiated by physician and lay community boards in two communities. Two comparable communities served as controls for evaluation purposes. Random-digit-dial telephone interviews were used to assess recent use of mammography at baseline and follow-up in independent samples of women ages 50 to 75 from the four communities. The extent of exposure to intervention activities and the relationship between exposure to intervention activities and mammography use were estimated from data collected at follow-up.
Results: Exposure to patient reminders from physicians, wallet reminder cards, and newspaper advertisements were consistently related to mammography use. Physician office staff encouragement and a display board were significantly related to mammography use only in Intervention Communities A and B, respectively. Neither exposure to promotional activities nor the change in prevalence of mammography use was significantly higher in the intervention communities than in the comparison communities at follow-up.
Conclusions: Although several activities were useful in promoting mammography use, organization of the community did not enhance efforts undertaken spontaneously by comparable communities.