Low-income women have a high mortality from breast cancer. Yet, they participate in breast cancer early detection screening programs less than women in the general population. An intervention study to improve screening mammography rates of low-income women participating in Tennessee's TennCare program (state Medicaid and Medicare program) revealed significant barriers to reaching these women. Intervention methods included mail, telephone calls, and home visits. Results indicate that only 38 percent of the women could be contacted for a baseline survey. Reasons for noncontact included absence from home (39 percent), having moved (22 percent), refusal to participate (17 percent), having no physical domicile (15 percent), language barriers (4 percent), and miscellaneous other factors (4 percent). Women with telephones tended to have a relatively higher economic status and were more successfully reached than women without telephones. These findings provide useful insights for future program planning and research design.