Inadequate screening adherence for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer among Latinas places them at greater risk for poor survival rates, once diagnosed. The purpose of this study was to examine two delivery methods of lay health educators (promotoras de salud) to increase screening behavior and evaluate costs.
This community-based group randomized trial assigned Latinas due for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer screening (n=1006) to promotora-taught cancer screening/prevention classes delivered individually (IND) or in social support groups (SSG) over 8 weeks. Screening behaviors were assessed immediately after and 3 and 15 months after intervention. Intervention costs per study arm were compared.
Screening and maintenance behaviors were not significantly different between SSG and IND for any one type of cancer screening, but with a study entry requirement that participants were either never screened or due for screening, postintervention screening rates (that is, completing a screening that was due) were notable (39.4% and 45.5%, respectively). The cost of achieving any one screening was much higher for IND participants.
SSG vs. IND delivery did not significantly affect cancer screening behaviors, but both interventions produced robust achievement of screenings for previously nonadherent participants. Group-based promotora-led interventions supporting social involvement are recommended as a more cost-effective approach to achieving cancer screening among Latina women.