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Jefferson researchers find personalized interventions key to improving colon cancer screening rates
Date:9/24/2007

(PHILADELPHIA) -- 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.

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Contact: Steve Benowitz
steven.benowitz@jefferson.edu
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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