Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mailing free tests to patients' homes boosts colon cancer screening rates, study shows

Date:
February 26, 2014
Source:
Kaiser Permanente
Summary:
Colon cancer screening rates increased by nearly 40 percent when free stool tests were mailed to patients' homes, according to results of a pilot study. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet one in three adults is not adequately screened. The study included 869 patients who received their health care from community health centers in the Portland, Ore. metropolitan area. The clinics serve many Latino patients who live below the poverty level. About half of them have no health insurance.

Colon cancer screening rates increased by nearly 40 percent when free stool tests were mailed to patients' homes, according to results of a pilot study published today in the journal BMC Cancer.

Related Articles


The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), included 869 patients who received their health care from community health centers in the Portland, Ore. metropolitan area. The clinics serve many Latino patients who live below the poverty level. About half of them have no health insurance.

"We are very happy that so many of the patients who received the screening kits in the mail actually completed the tests and mailed them back," said Gloria Coronado, PhD, lead author and senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. "Colon cancer screening rates are low among the general population, but even lower among minorities and those without health insurance. This sets the stage for our larger STOP Colon Cancer study, which aims to increase screening among thousands more patients who receive their care from community health clinics."

The pilot study was conducted in three clinics operated by Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. In the first clinic, 112 patients received an introductory letter written in English and Spanish, and two weeks later they received a stool test. If they hadn't returned the tests within three weeks, these patients received a reminder postcard. In the second clinic, 101 patients received the introductory letters, the mailed stool tests and reminder postcards, as well as an additional phone call if they hadn't returned the tests within a month. The third clinic, with 656 patients, served as a control. These patients received no stool test in the mail but may have been given a test during a routine clinic visit.

Only 1 percent of the patients in the control clinic completed a screening stool test, compared to 39 percent who received screening tests in the mail and 37 percent of patients who received the screening tests with the additional phone reminder.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet one in three adults is not adequately screened. A 2012 CDC survey found that 66 percent of non-Latino whites were adequately screened, compared to 53 percent of Latinos and 37 percent of uninsured patients.

"Many patients don't understand that a simple stool test called FIT, or fecal immunochemical test, can save their lives," said Tanya Kapka, MD, MPH, co-author and family physician at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. "The FIT test can be done at home, it only takes a few minutes, and, if conducted annually, is effective for determining which patients are most likely to have colon cancer."

Unlike older stool tests, FIT does not require people to restrict their diets or to stop taking medications. The test detects small amounts of blood in the stool. People who test positive on FIT need a follow-up colonoscopy to look for cancer or pre-cancerous polyps.

Patients who lack health insurance usually have no way to pay for a colonoscopy, so practitioners may be hesitant to recommend the initial screening test. For the pilot study, researchers worked with Project Access Now, a local community organization in Portland, Ore. The program provides specialty medical services to uninsured patients and agreed to provide follow-up colonoscopies to patients who had a positive FIT.

The FIT is recommended annually and is one of several options to detect colon cancer. Other options recommended by The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force include a more invasive test called a sigmoidoscopy, which examines the lower colon and is recommended every five years along with a stool test every three years. A colonoscopy, which examines the entire colon, is recommended every 10 years. People with no specific risks for colon cancer should start screening at age 50, and most people should continue until age 75.

Researchers have received NIH funding to expand the pilot to 26 federally qualified health centers in Oregon and California. The STOP Colorectal Cancer pragmatic trial will begin in February 2014.

"Increasing colon cancer screening among Latinos is a key target in our own health disparities work at Kaiser Permanente," said Winston Wong, MD, MS, medical director, Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, and director, Disparities Improvement and Quality Initiatives. "This study not only brings attention to the health care inequities faced by minorities and those with limited economic means, but also underscores the importance of partnering with organizations that deliver care to the most vulnerable populations."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kaiser Permanente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gloria D Coronado, William M Vollmer, Amanda Petrik, Josue Aguirre, Tanya Kapka, Jennifer DeVoe, Jon Puro, Tran Miers, Jennifer Lembach, Ann Turner, Jennifer Sanchez, Sally Retecki, Christine Nelson, Beverly Green. Strategies and opportunities to STOP colon cancer in priority populations: pragmatic pilot study design and outcomes. BMC Cancer, 2014; 14 (1): 55 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-14-55

Cite This Page:

Kaiser Permanente. "Mailing free tests to patients' homes boosts colon cancer screening rates, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226095244.htm>.
Kaiser Permanente. (2014, February 26). Mailing free tests to patients' homes boosts colon cancer screening rates, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226095244.htm
Kaiser Permanente. "Mailing free tests to patients' homes boosts colon cancer screening rates, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226095244.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins