BACKGROUND Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. Compared with white non-Hispanic women, however, Hispanic women have significantly lower cancer screening rates. Programs designed to increase cancer screening rates, including the national Screen for Life campaign, which specifically promoted colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, regional educational/research programs, and state cancer control programs, have been launched. Screen for Life and some of these other intervention programs have targeted Hispanic populations by providing educational materials in Spanish in addition to English. METHODS The objective of this study was to compare changes in colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer screening rates from 2000 to 2005 among Hispanic and white non-Hispanic women, using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The age ranges of study subjects and the definitions of cancer screening were site specific and based on the American Cancer Society (ACS) screening recommendations. RESULTS Although overall screening rates were found to be lower among Hispanic women, CRC screening increased about 1.5-fold among both Hispanic and white non-Hispanic women, mainly driven by endoscopic screening, which increased 2.1-fold and 2.9-fold, respectively, from 2000 to 2005 (p < 0.01). Fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) for CRC declined among white non-Hispanic women and remained stable among Hispanic women during the same period. Mammogram and Pap smear screening tended to decline during the study period for both ethnic groups, especially white non-Hispanic women. CONCLUSION Although cancer screening rates may be affected by multiple factors, culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate national educational programs may have contributed to the increase in endoscopic CRC screening compliance.