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The “Iowa Get Screened” Colon Cancer Screening Program
Levy, Barcey T.
Daly, Jeanette M.
Merchant, Mary L.
Levitz, Carly E.
Wilbur, Jason K.
Article from Article
Journal of Primary Care and Community Health vol. 1 no. 1 (2010)
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Fecal Immunochemical Testing
Objective: To implement a colon cancer screening program for uninsured or underinsured Iowans. Methods: All 1995 uninsured patients or patients with Iowa Care insurance aged 50 to 64 years attending the University of Iowa Clinic or the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic were mailed information about the project. Recruitment also took place in person, by having the clinic receptionist hand subjects a research packet, and through community posters. Individuals with colonic symptoms or who were up to date with screening were ineligible. Eligible subjects received a free fecal immunochemical test (FIT), and those with positive FITs were provided with a colonoscopy at no cost to them. Results: Of 449 individuals who completed eligibility forms (23% of the study population), 297 (66%) were eligible and were provided with an FIT. Two-hundred thirty-five (79%) returned a stool sample, with 49 (21%) testing positive. Thirty of the 49 (61%) individuals had a colonoscopy, and 20 individuals had at least 1 polyp biopsied. Thirteen individuals had at least 1 tubular adenoma; 2 had adenomas more than 1 cm in diameter, with no colon cancers identified. Face-to-face recruitment had the highest rate of returned FITs (72%) compared with handing the subject a research packet (3%) or a mailing only (9%) (Chi-square, P < .001). Conclusion: There was high interest in and compliance with colon cancer screening using a FIT among underinsured individuals. Although the FIT positivity rate was higher than expected, many individuals did not complete recommended follow-up colonoscopies. Population-based strategies for offering FIT could significantly increase colon cancer screening among disadvantaged individuals, but programs will have to develop sustainable mechanisms to include the necessary organization and address substantial costs of providing mass screening, as well as facilitating and providing colonoscopies for those who test positive.
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