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Am J Prev Med. 2010 Jul;39(1):1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.02.020.

Healthy colon, healthy life: a novel colorectal cancer screening intervention.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94115, USA.



Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates are increasing, but they are still low, particularly in ethnic minority groups. In many resource-poor settings, fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is the main screening option.


Culturally tailored telephone counseling by community health advisors employed by a community-based organization, culturally tailored brochures, and customized FOBT kits.


RCT. Participants were randomized to (1) basic intervention: culturally tailored brochure plus FOBT kit (n=765); (2) enhanced intervention: brochure, FOBT plus telephone counseling (n=768); or (3) usual care (n=256).


Latino and Vietnamese primary care patients at a large public hospital.


Self-reported receipt of FOBT or any CRC screening at 1-year follow-up.


1358 individuals (718 Latinos and 640 Vietnamese) completed the follow-up survey. Self-reported FOBT screening rates increased by 7.8% in the control group, by 15.1% in the brochure group, and by 25.1% in the brochure/telephone counseling group (p<0.01 for differences between each intervention and usual care and for the difference between brochure/telephone counseling and brochure alone). For any CRC screening, rates increased by 4.1% in the usual care group, by 11.9% in the FOBT/brochure group, and by 21.4% in the brochure/telephone counseling group (p<0.01 for differences between each intervention and usual care and for the difference between the basic and the enhanced intervention).


An intervention that included culturally tailored brochures and tailored telephone counseling increased CRC screening in Latinos and the Vietnamese. Brochure and telephone counseling together had the greatest impact. Future research should address replication and dissemination of this model for Latinos and Vietnamese in other communities, and adaptation of the model for other groups.

Copyright 2010 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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