Information from the Screen to Save program increased knowledge regarding colorectal cancer and indicated a willingness to adopt potentially preventive behavior changes for people, according to a recent study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The program, which is a culturally tailored initiative from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD), was launched in 2016 with the goal of “increasing colorectal cancer screening rates in adults age 50 and older from racial/ethnic minority groups or from rural areas.”
“It is critically important to take action at the community level in order to meaningfully reduce colorectal cancer disparities,” director of the CRCHD and author of the paper Sanya A. Springfield, PhD, said in a press release.
For Phase I of the program, the researchers developed informative toolkits to be taught by community health educators at 42 Screen to Save sites to evaluate if participants in the program increased their knowledge of colorectal cancer. The toolkits were tailored to various racial/ethnic communities, with participants enrolled in the study in community settings.
Ultimately, the researchers developed a knowledge survey regarding colorectal cancer consisting of 18 questions. The goal was to assess the change in knowledge before and after participating in the Screen to Save program. Overall, 3,183 people between age 50 and age 74 completed the survey, with results showing a significant increase in knowledge across all groups after participation in the Phase I educational sessions. Prior to these sessions, participants answer 12 or 13 questions correctly, while after the session that number rose to 15 or 16.
In Phase II, the community health educators distributed colorectal cancer screening tests, partnered with patient navigators, and the provision of colonoscopy referrals as a way to implement models of “connection to care.”
Of the 42 Screen to Save program sites, 9 reported follow-up colorectal cancer screening data. In total, 45% of the 441 participants had never been screened for colorectal cancer. Even more, 50% of the almost 200 participants to never be screened obtained screening in the follow-up period of 3 months.
“The results of the study indicate that culturally tailored programs are effective and could be expanded on a national level,” study author and chief of CRCHD’s Integrated Networks Branch LeeAnn Bailey, MD, PhD, said in a press release. “Future initiatives should focus on large-scale national efforts that are modiﬁable to meet community needs.”
Going forward, the authors suggest expanding the reach to vulnerable populations with the hopes of further educating and enrolling patients in screenings for colorectal cancer. The number of patients from vulnerable groups such as American Indians/Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders was limited in this study.
According to the release, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Patients of vulnerable and underserved racial/ethnic groups see a higher mortality rate due to lower screening rates and longer delays in follow-ups to test results.
Culturally Tailored Colorectal Cancer Education Program Improved Awareness and Screening Uptake in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and Rural Populations [news release]. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Published May 1, 2020. https://www.aacr.org/about-the-aacr/newsroom/news-releases/culturally-tailored-colorectal-cancer-education-program-improved-awareness-and-screening-uptake-in-racial-ethnic-minorities-and-rural/. Accessed May 8, 2020.