Faith-based Settings

Messages to promote colorectal cancer screening may have a greater impact on individuals when the message comes from the pulpit or through faith leaders than through other sources. This is in part because faith-based settings are traditionally places where people trust the information they receive from their leaders and other members. These colorectal cancer screening interventions may be included in sermons or as part of health ministry and outreach programs. For more information about settings for healthy lifestyle behaviors, see Nutrition, Physical Activity and Tobacco.

Faith-based interventions work best when used with interventions in other settings:

  • Community-based settings: faith-based organizations can work to increase community outreach and access to colorectal cancer screening options
  • Worksite-based settings: Local businesses can work with local faith-based centers to facilitate free or low-cost screenings
  • Health care facility-based settings: faith-based organizations can work with health care providers to advocate for increases in colorectal cancer screening rates
  • Home-based settings: parish nurses can provide colorectal cancer information in the homes of at-risk individuals and provide fecal occult blood tests

Things to consider for faith-based interventions:

  • Faith-based newsletters, church bulletins, posters, signs or other materials can reach people that may not be reached in other settings.
  • Messages about the importance of colorectal cancer screening and ways to increase healthy lifestyle behaviors may be trusted more if they come from faith-based leaders.
  • Places of worship are an important location for health education because many people in the community attend an organized religious service and view these locations as valuable community structures. Many groups who are under-represented in health promotion interventions, including African Americans and Hispanics, may be better reached within this setting.
  • Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples or other places of worship often have meeting spaces, equipment, resources or volunteers that can be used to deliver the colorectal cancer intervention.
  • Faith-based communities usually show strong support for all of their members. Therefore, interventions in this setting may emphasize the support available for the screening process and after learning test results.
  • Translation services or individuals that speak the language may need to be made available in some situations.

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