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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Jul;16(7):1485-91.

Effects of colon cancer risk counseling for first-degree relatives.

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Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road Northeast, Room 526, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.



Individuals with a first-degree relative who has had colorectal cancer are at increased risk for colorectal cancer and thus can benefit from early detection. Tailored risk counseling may increase adherence to screening guidelines in these persons. The present study evaluated a culturally sensitive Colon Cancer Risk Counseling (CCRC) intervention for relatives of colorectal cancer patients.


A randomized trial evaluated personalized CCRC sessions with print materials and follow-up phone calls compared with a comparable General Health Counseling (GHC) intervention. One hundred and seventy-six siblings and children of colorectal cancer patients, living in Hawaii, were assessed at baseline and 4 and 12 months after intervention. Physician verification of colorectal cancer screening reports supplemented survey data.


The CCRC intervention had a significant treatment effect at 4 months (13% greater increase than for GHC) that plateaued to a trend at 12 months. For those who were nonadherent at baseline, the CCRC led to a 17% net increase in screening adherence. Participants rated the CCRC intervention better than GHC for the amount and usefulness of new information.


Using a study design that compared risk counseling to an attention-matched and tailored control condition provided a rigorous test of CCRC that emphasized the relevance of family experience with colorectal cancer. The combination face-to-face, phone, and small media risk counseling intervention for people with a family history of colorectal cancer should be considered for adoption in health care and public health settings.

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