Effectiveness of Interventions to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Among American Indians and Alaska Natives

Colorectal Cancer

Prev Chronic Dis. 2020 Jul 16;17:E62. doi: 10.5888/pcd17.200049.


INTRODUCTION: Screening rates for colorectal cancer are low in many American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. Direct mailing of a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit can address patient and structural barriers to screening. Our objective was to determine if such an evidence-based intervention could increase colorectal cancer screening among AI/AN populations.

METHODS: We recruited study participants from 3 tribally operated health care facilities and randomly assigned them to 1 of 3 study groups: 1) usual care, 2) mailing of FIT kits, and 3) mailing of FIT kits plus follow-up outreach by telephone and/or home visit from an American Indian Community Health Representative (CHR).

RESULTS: Among participants who received usual care, 6.4% returned completed FIT kits. Among participants who were mailed FIT kits without outreach, 16.9% returned the kits - a significant increase over usual care (P < .01). Among participants who received mailed FIT kits plus CHR outreach, 18.8% returned kits, which was also a significant increase over usual care (P < .01) but not a significant increase compared with the mailed FIT kit-only group (P = .44). Of 165 participants who returned FIT kits during the study, 39 (23.6%) had a positive result and were referred for colonoscopy of which 23 (59.0%) completed the colonoscopy. Twelve participants who completed a colonoscopy had polyps, and 1 was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

CONCLUSION: Direct mailing of FIT kits to eligible community members may be a useful, population-based strategy to increase colorectal cancer screening among AI/AN people.