Increasing Cancer Screening: Group Education
Group education conveys information on indications for, benefits of, and ways to overcome barriers to screening with the goal of informing, encouraging, and motivating participants to seek recommended screening. Group education is usually conducted by health professionals or by trained laypeople who use presentations or other teaching aids in a lecture or interactive format, and often incorporate role modeling or other methods. Group education can be given to a variety of groups, in different settings, and by different types of educators with different backgrounds and styles.
Summary of Task Force Recommendations & Findings
The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends group education for the purpose of increasing breast cancer screening on the basis of sufficient evidence that these interventions are effective in increasing screening for breast cancer.
The Task Force finds insufficient evidence, however, to determine the effectiveness of group education in increasing screening for cervical cancer and colorectal cancer, based on small numbers of studies with methodologic limitations and inconsistent findings.
Results from the Systematic Reviews
The Task Force findings are based on evidence from a previously completed review (search period 1966-2004) and an updated review (search period 2004-2008). Updates of reviews are conducted to incorporate more recent evidence.
Thirteen studies qualified for the systematic review.
- Mammography screening: median increase of 11.5 percentage points (interquartile interval [IQI]: 5.5 to 24 percentage points; 12 studies with 13 study arms)
- One study reported mixed results for mammography screening, depending on whether the results were reported at the group or individual level.
Group education interventions to increase breast cancer screening should be applicable across a range of settings and populations, provided they are adapted for a specific population and delivery context.
Five studies qualified for the systematic review.
- Pap tests: median increase of 10.6 percentage points (range 0 to 59.1; 4 studies)
- One study reported mixed results for cervical cancer screening, depending on whether the results were reported at the group or individual level.
- While these results were in the favorable direction, the studies had some methodological limitations.
Two studies qualified for the systematic review.
- Screening by FOBT: median increase of 4.4 percentage points (range -13 to 37; 2 studies with 4 study arms)
- The evidence was insufficient to support a recommendation, however, because of the small number of studies and inconsistent findings among the study arms.
These findings were based on a systematic review of all available studies, conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to cancer prevention and control.
Sabatino SA, Lawrence B, Elder R, Mercer SL, Wilson KM, DeVinney B, Melillo S, Carvalho M, Taplin S, Bastani R, Rimer BK, Vernon SW, Melvin CL, Taylor V, Fernandez M, Glanz K, Community Preventive Services Task Force. Effectiveness of interventions to increase screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers: nine updated systematic reviews for The Guide to Community Preventive Services. [PDF - 235KB] Am J Prev Med 2012;43(1):765-86.
Community Preventive Services Task Force. Updated recommendations for client- and provider-oriented interventions to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening. [PDF - 90KB]. Am J Prev Med 2012;43(1):760-4.
More Community Guide publications about Cancer Prevention and Control
The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC.
The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation:
Guide to Community Preventive Services. Increasing cancer screening: group education. www.thecommunityguide.org/cancer/screening/client-oriented/GroupEducation.html. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.
Review completed: October 2009
- Page last reviewed: June 21, 2012
- Page last updated: June 21, 2012
- Content source: The Guide to Community Preventive Services