Personalized interventions key to improving colon cancer screening rates

Sep 24, 2007

(One of the best ways to encourage an individual to get screened for colorectal cancer is to use a personalized approach, according to researchers at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. A new study shows that simple, personalized interventions that guide recipients through the screening process can significantly improve colorectal cancer screening rates in primary care practices.

Ronald Myers, Ph.D., professor of medical oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and his co-workers divided 1,546 at-risk primary care patients who were not up-to-date on colon cancer screening into four groups. They randomly assigned patients to receive one of the following: usual care (control); mailed information, screening materials and a mailed reminder (group one); mailed information with messages addressing personal concerns about screening, screening materials, and a mailed reminder (group two); or mailed information with personal messages, screening materials, plus mail and telephone reminders (group three).

The team, reporting online September 24, 2007 in the journal CANCER, found that compared to usual care controls, all of the personalized approaches made a difference. Two years after the study began, screening rates were higher in each intervention group compared to the control group. Only 33 percent of individuals in the control group were screened, compared to 48 percent in group three, 46 percent in group two and 44 percent in group one.

“We found that we can get a substantial increase in screening by taking a personalized approach in which the at-risk population is identified and then offered screening and information,” Dr. Myers says. “More than 40 percent responded and were screened. By adding in the personal messages that addressed personal barriers to screening, such as concerns about test inconvenience and discomfort, we were able to see additional, modest improvements.”

According to Dr. Myers, the number of individuals going for colon cancer screening in primary care practices has traditionally been low. His team and others have been trying to find new ways to raise screening rates. But it has been difficult. “The key to addressing this important public health problem is to apply a relatively simple, low-cost approach that not only increases screening use, but is also cost-effective,” Dr. Myers says. His team showed “the potential impact that can be achieved when such an intervention strategy can be delivered to patients in primary care practice settings. In fact, if personalized interventions were delivered as an ancillary service to primary practices, we could increase screening rates substantially, and as a result, reduce the burden of colorectal cancer dramatically.”

Source: Thomas Jefferson University

Explore further: Team identifies source of most cases of invasive bladder cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A complete medical check-up on a chip

Mar 04, 2014

(Phys.org) —About the size of a stapler, this new handheld device developed at EFPL is able to test a large number of proteins in our body all at once-a subtle combination of optical science and engineering.

New technology transforms research in viral biology

Sep 11, 2013

Researchers at The Mount Sinai Medical Center have developed an innovative system to test how a virus interacts with cells in the body—to see, for example, what happens in lung cells when a deadly respiratory virus attacks ...

Recommended for you

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

17 hours ago

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

Apr 17, 2014

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.