A Colorectal Screening Strategy Significantly Increases Testing In Groups With Low Rates

UNC Lineberger researchers led by Daniel S. Reuland, MD, MPH, report in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine that providing one-on-one support and customized tools for decision-making increased screening rates for patients at two community health centers in North Carolina and New Mexico.

A Colorectal Screening Strategy Significantly Increases Testing In Groups With Low Rates click to enlarge Daniel S. Reuland, MD, MPH
A Colorectal Screening Strategy Significantly Increases Testing In Groups With Low Rates click to enlarge Alison Brenner, PhD, MPH

(Republished with permission from the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center's Newsroom.) 

In a report from the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, Daniel S. Reuland, MD, MPH, a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine's Division of General Medicine and Epidemiology, with a research team from UNC's Lineberger Cancer Center, have identified a decision-aid model that doubles colorectal screening rates for vulnerable populations.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to Alison Brenner, PhD, MPH, the Associate Program Director of the Decision Support Lab at UNC's Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, while screening rates have improved nationally, "low-income, and some minority populations tend to be screened at lower rates than the national average." 

The study tested a strategy to improve screen rates for 265 patients at community health clinics in North Carolina and New Mexico. The majority of patients were Latino, low income, on Medicaid or lacking insurance. After watching a decision aid video and meeting with a health navigator, 68 percent of participants were screened for colorectal cancer within 6 months, compared to 27 percent of patients who did not receive the intervention.

Dr. Reuland said the findings have policy implications because health centers don't have the resources to do this systematically.

To learn more, please visit UNC Lineberger Cancer Center's Newsroom.