Cancer screening – community strategies

Cancer screening is important because it saves lives. When cancer is detected early, it is easier to treat and improves the chances of survival. Regular cancer screening can help find some types of cancer before symptoms begin. It is important to get checked for cancer even if you feel fine and have a healthy lifestyle.1

Cancer screening is not only a matter of personal choice, it can also be positively influenced by community environments.

When our communities implement multi-component community-wide interventions, they are better able to strengthen four action areas: the social environment, the physical environment, the economic environment and the policy environment. These action areas are supported by community leadership and learning from experience.

Multi-component community-wide interventions to promoting cancer screening might include community policies that facilitate screening, particularly in vulnerable and underserved populations. Policies could be complemented with awareness campaigns for citizens and educating healthcare professionals on the benefits of cancer screening.

Although multi-component community-wide interventions are ideal, communities need to start where they are at! This may mean starting with one strategy, environment or setting and then building on it as you move towards thinking broadly about cancer screening.

Ways to take action

All of the evidence-informed strategies are tried, tested and useful strategies that are based on current research. See the methods section for more information on how these strategies were developed.

Changing the social environment is about increasing awareness of the benefits of and opportunities for cancer screening.

Plan and implement multi-component community-wide interventions. When communities work to change the social environment, it is important to do so in conjunction with changes to the physical, economic and policy environments.

Changing the physical environment to promote cancer screening is about ensuring cancer screening is accessible and available in the community.

Plan and implement multi-component community-wide interventions. When communities work to change the physical environment, it is important to do so in conjunction with changes to the social, economic and policy environments. 

Changing the economic environment is about ensuring that cancer screening services are accessible to all community members.

Plan and implement multi-component community-wide interventions. When communities work to change the economic environment, it is important to do so in conjunction with changes to the social, physical and policy environments. 

Policy change is about developing policies to promote cancer screening that increase community awareness and improve access to services.

Plan and implement multi-component community-wide interventions. When communities work to change the policy environment, it is important to do so in conjunction with changes to the social, physical and economic environments. 

  1. Alberta Prevents Cancer. Get screened. Alberta: Alberta Prevents Cancer; 2018. Available from: https://www.albertapreventscancer.ca/reduce-your-risk/get-screened/
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