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Continuing Mailed FOBT Program Ups CRC Screening Adherence

Continuing benefits for patients who completed FOBT tests in years one and/or two of the program

elderly woman

TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Continuing a centralized mailed fecal occult blood test (FOBT) program is beneficial for improving adherence to colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in Cancer.

Beverly B. Green, M.D., M.P.H., from Group Health Permanente in Seattle, and colleagues examined the effect of continuing a centralized FOBT mailed program on screening adherence. A total of 2,208 patients aged 52 to 75 years in a substudy of the Systems of Support to Increase Colon Cancer Screening and Follow-up trial were randomized in year three to continued automated interventions, which included mailed information regarding CRC screening choices and mailed stool kit tests (Continued group), or to a group in which the intervention was stopped (Stopped group).

The researchers found that patients in the Continued group had significantly higher adherence to CRC screening in year three than those in the Stopped group (53.3 versus 37.3 percent; P < 0.001); this difference was entirely attributable to greater completion of FOBT. Patients in the Continued group completing FOBT in both years one and two had the highest rate of year three CRC screening (77.2 percent), followed by patients who had completed screening in only one of the years (44.6 percent). Low rates were reported for those not completing screening within the first two years (18.1 percent).

"Research is needed regarding how to engage patients not completing CRC testing after being mailed at least two rounds of FOBT tests," the authors write.

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