A randomized community trial to increase mammography utilization among low-income women living in public housing

Prev Med. Nov-Dec 1998;27(6):862-70. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1998.0370.


Background: A randomized trial was conducted to evaluate the impact of a community-based intervention on mammography use among low-income women living in public housing.

Methods: All 41 public housing high-rise buildings were randomized to treatment and delayed treatment (control) conditions. After a cross-sectional baseline survey, an intervention called Friend to Friend was conducted in the treatment buildings by American Cancer Society and building resident volunteers. The intervention consisted of a health professional talk, small group discussions, and an opportunity to request assistance in obtaining a mammogram or mammogram reminder. A second cross-sectional survey was conducted to measure differences in screening rates between the study groups.

Results: Participation in the intervention averaged 27%. The study groups were equivalent at baseline. At follow-up, the proportion of women age 50-79 years who reported mammography screening in the previous 15 months was significantly higher in the treatment group (64%) than in the control group (52%). Breast cancer knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs did not differ between groups.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that a multidimensional intervention which reaches women within their social environment and uses community volunteers can increase mammography utilization among women in public housing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Community Health Workers / organization & administration*
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Poverty* / psychology
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Housing*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires