Cancer screening continues to be a challenge amongst the immigrant population. Our intervention tries to understand their perceptions, identifies barriers to cancer screening, and showcases how collaboration between institutions has helped tackle these disparities.


Key locations in and around Philadelphia with a concentration of immigrant populations were identified. Consulates of Mexico and Guatemala, places of worship, and local farms with immigrant populations were selected as study sites. Medical residents of local hospitals collaborated with and trained college students to administer a bilingual survey to consenting participants using REDCap. USPSTF guidelines for Breast, Cervical, Colon, and Lung cancer screening were condensed into a checklist used by students to determine eligibility. Eligible participants met with medical residents who counseled them about appropriate cancer screening. They connected them with navigators from tertiary care centers or the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).


Over 400 individuals benefited from 10 health promoter events from July 2023 to December 2023, 125 participated in our survey. 44% (n = 55) were Hispanic, and 56% (n = 70) Black immigrants. 29% (16) Hispanics and 43% (30) Black immigrants were insured. 67% (84) reported they did not have a PCP. 76% (95) wanted to undergo cancer screening, 15% (19) had previously undergone cancer screening, the commonest being mammograms, PAP smears (75%) and colon cancer screening (21%). Self-perceived barriers to screening were cost 43% (54), anxiety about the test 28% (35), and lack of awareness 30% (37).


Immigrants struggle with healthcare access due to various socioeconomic, legal, and language discordance. When access to primary care and health insurance continues to be a barrier, screening must be decentralized beyond the physicians’ offices into the local communities. Trained community-based volunteers, students, and residents can help bridge the gap between patients and health systems.