At-home colon kit increases screening rates

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A pilot study using at-home colon-cancer screening kits boosted the screened patient population by 40%. Kaiser Permanente reported that the National Institutes of Health study included sending at-home fecal analysis tests to 869 community health clinic patients in Portland, OR.

The clinics serve a large number of uninsured Latino patients. The study included patients from three clinics, letters in English and Spanish, and follow-up postcards for patients who did not mail in stool samples for analysis. Some patients received a postcard and a follow-up call if they did not return the testing kits. The control group did not receive a test in the mail or letters, but may have been tested at the clinic.

Kaiser noted that cost often prevents doctors from using preliminary screenings, like the fecal test, among poor, uninsured patients. A positive fecal immunochemical test does require a colonoscopy to rule out cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control found in 2012 that 66% of non-Latino whites were adequately screened for colorectal cancer, compared to 53% of Latinos, Kaiser added.

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