Over the next four years, the Group Health Center for Health Studies will look at how physicians can get patients to screen for colorectal cancer more often and get follow-up exams more often.
During the study, 6,000 Group Health members age 50 to 75 will be randomly assigned to study groups. One group will receive standard care of doctors’ reminders at regular visits and an annual letter. Another group will get one of three increasing levels of support for screening. The highest level includes a stool-test card mailed early, access to a screening hot line, reminder calls from a medical assistant and help from a nurse.
The researchers hope to prove that by creating more awareness and making it easier for people to get screened, they will do it. Colorectal cancer is the third-most-common cancer found in men and women in this country. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 153,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2007 in the U.S. and more than 53,000 deaths.