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Direct Mailing Of Fecal Occult Blood Test Kits Improves Screening Rates Among Medically Underserved Patients

Direct mailing of kits to patients eligible for appears to be efficacious for improving screening in historically underserved communities.

A randomized control trial including 202 patients at a community health clinic in Chicago, Ill., found patients assigned to an outreach intervention consisting of the mailing of kits with follow-up telephone calls to initial nonresponders had a 30 percent screening rate, compared with a 5 percent screening rate among patients in the usual-care group.

Although prior studies have shown the direct-to-patient mailing of FOBT kits can lead to higher colorectal cancer in predominantly white, middle-class or well-insured populations, this study adds to the existing literature by demonstrating that this outreach strategy can significantly improve even among economically from a wide range of racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

This finding is especially important given the marked disparities in colorectal screening among racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with lower income and educational attainment, the uninsured and individuals born outside the United States.

“Program to Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening in a Low-Income, Racially Diverse Population: A Randomized Controlled Trial”
By Muriel Jean-Jacques, MD, MA, et al
Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill.


September/October 2012 Annals of Family Medicine

American Academy of Family Physicians