Background: This study represented the first that documents the development of breast and cervical cancer literacy assessments that can be administered orally by laypersons. Methods: Critical indicators of cancer literacy were identified through a review of pertinent literature and interviews with ethnically diverse women. The pilot-test consisted of a 29- question assessment for language appropriateness. A score of 75% was established as the threshold for functional cancer literacy. Results: The assessment tools demonstrated a high level of internal consistency. Paired t-test analysis of pre- and post-intervention tests showed that the instrument was sensitive to changes in literacy of breast and cervical cancer as well as improvements in functional cancer literacy. Conclusion: The analysis demonstrated that the instrument is a reliable and valid indicator of breast and cervical cancer literacy. These assessment instruments can provide researchers and educators a tool to measure functional cancer literacy that can enhance their ability to tailor appropriate health interventions and promotions.

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