Examining Preventive Cancer Screening Rates among Vulnerable Adults in New Hampshire

February 27, 2017

New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaborative (NH CCC)

The New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaborative (NH CCC) Equity Task Force recently released a white paper examining cancer prevention and screening rates among hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations in New Hampshire. 

Cancer screening rates in NH are above the national average and do not always provide an accurate picture of subpopulations in the state. Because NH lacks data by race and ethnicity, disparities have historically been described by income, education, and geography. Although these are important findings, the data does not easily lend itself to a targeted intervention. 

By looking at cancer screening rates by industry and occupation, the Task Force found disparities in the cancer screening rates of women in the restaurant and food service industry, which could be impacted by a worksite intervention. 

Further examination through focus groups with industry owners and managers provided information of cultural norms and the worksite environment. Through understanding the food service industry, the Task Force learned that: 

  • Employers care about their employees, but have limited resources to address employee health; 
  • Employers perceive that employees are more reactive than proactive in addressing health needs; 
  • Many employees lack health insurance; 
  • Free screening and other health-related services would likely be well-received. 

As a result of the research done, the NH CCC Equity Task Force developed infographic posters in English and Spanish about breast and cervical cancer screenings to distribute to 1,500 restaurants statewide. They also included a smoking cessation poster, and asked restaurant management to post both for their employees.  

The report, Examining Preventive Cancer Screening Rates among Vulnerable Adults in New Hampshire, is available for download on the NH CCC’s website.  

The Equity Task Force was convened in 2015 to further the NH CCC’s mission to reduce cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality for the people of NH. Dr. Kimberly Phillips, a Project Director at the IOD, served as a Task Force co-chair; she and Sara Rainer, coordinator of the NH Disability & Public Health Project, co-authored the white paper with other members of the Task Force.