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.