This article provides an overview of behavioral and social science cancer screening intervention research and introduces the scope of topics addressed in this supplement to Cancer. The authors identify and address issues to consider before conducting interventions to promote the uptake of screening tests, such as the benefits and harms associated with screening. Trends in the use of cancer screening tests are discussed in the context of their efficacy and adoption over time. Both the development and breadth of social and behavioral intervention research intended to increase the use of effective tests are reviewed as background for the articles that follow. The application of the lessons from this extensive knowledge base not only should accelerate the uptake of the effective cancer screening tests currently available, but also can guide future directions for research. Cancer 2004. Published 2004 by the American Cancer Society.