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J Community Health. 2013 Aug;38(4):603-8. doi: 10.1007/s10900-013-9665-1.

A colorectal cancer screening program in an underserved, ethnically diverse population in Chicago, IL.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 750 N Lakeshore Dr. 10th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


The purpose of this project was to describe the structure and outcomes of a colorectal cancer screening program at CommunityHealth, the largest free health clinic in Illinois. We conducted a retrospective observational study using administrative clinical data from 2006 to 2011. A total of 4,026 patients were eligible for colorectal cancer screening of which 2,418 (60.0 %) completed fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Subsequently, 1,657 patients had negative FOBT results and 1,365 patients underwent on-site flexible sigmoidoscopy. Over 90 % of patients had never had a prior screening examination. A majority of patients were female (61.7 %) and self-identified as Mexican (37.5 %) or Polish (28.2 %). A total of 203 biopsies were performed resulting in the detection of 69 adenomas (5.0 %) and 1 adenocarcinoma (0.1 %). A comprehensive colorectal cancer screening program was successfully implemented in a large community health center serving a population of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds without prior access to screening. This program could serve as model for colorectal cancer screening in diverse, low resource communities.

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