BACKGROUND Breast and cervical cancers are significant causes of mortality and morbidity for Asian women, and poor English-speaking ability is a barrier to cancer prevention practices. MATERIALS AND METHODS This project tested relationships among English-speaking ability and early detection practices regarding to breast and cervical cancer among female Chinese immigrants. A descriptive cross-sectional survey was used. RESULTS 175 female Chinese immigrants completed the survey in the breast cancer prevention section, and 35 of them also completed the cervical cancer prevention section. Some 63% of them had heard about the clinical breast exam (CBE), but only 54% had had a CBE. While 46% of the participants were aware of their need for a Pap smear, only 31% had heard about it and had undergone a pelvic exam. CONCLUSIONS English-speaking ability was strongly associated with immigrant women's knowledge of female cancer early detection. Culturally and linguistic issues should be considered as the first step to access immigrant population in designing future education intervention.