Community health centers can help boost rates of colorectal cancer screening
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An innovative program in community health centers to mail free colorectal cancer screening tests to patients’ homes led to a nearly 4 percentage point increase in CRC screening, compared to clinics without the program, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, approximately 24 million people in the United States receive care at federally qualified health centers, often called community health or safety net clinics. These underserved patients historically have low rates of CRC screening compared to the general population.

“With such a large number of individuals receiving care in the safety-net setting, an improvement in CRC screening rates of even a few percentage points can have a major impact in terms of cancers detected and lives saved,” said lead author Gloria Coronado, PhD, an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

The study, “Strategies and Opportunities to Stop Colon Cancer in Priority Populations (STOP CRC),” took place in 26 clinics representing eight health centers in Oregon and California. More than 41,000 adults aged 50-64 met the study criteria of being due for CRC screening between February 2014 and February 2015.

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