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J Cancer Surviv. 2013 Mar;7(1):155-63. doi: 10.1007/s11764-012-0259-1. Epub 2012 Dec 18.

Are cancer registries a viable tool for cancer survivor outreach? A feasibility study.

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  • 1University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Melissa.Y.Carpentier@uth.tmc.edu



Little is known about cancer survivors' receptivity to being contacted through cancer registries for research and health promotion efforts. We sought to (1) determine breast and colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors' responsiveness to a mailed survey using an academic medical center's cancer registry, (2) assess whether responsiveness varied according to sociodemographic characteristics and medical history, and (3) examine the prevalence and correlates of respondents' awareness and willingness to be contacted through the state cancer registry for future research studies.


Stage 0-III breast and CRC survivors diagnosed between January 2004 and December 2009 were identified from an academic medical center cancer registry. Survivors were mailed an invitation letter with an opt-out option, along with a survey assessing sociodemographic characteristics, medical history, and follow-up cancer care access and utilization.


A total of 452 (31.4 %) breast and 53 (22.2 %) CRC survivors responded. Willingness to be contacted through the state cancer registry was high among both breast (74 %) and CRC (64 %) respondents even though few were aware of the registry and even fewer knew that their information was in the registry. In multivariable analyses, tumor stage I and not having a family history of cancer were associated with willingness among breast and CRC survivors, respectively.


Our findings support the use of state cancer registries to contact survivors for participation in research studies.


Survivors would benefit from partnerships between researchers and cancer registries that are focused on health promotion interventions.

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