Patient Navigation May Boost Colorectal Cancer Screening

Language-specific navigation may increase CRC screening among racially diverse patients

WEDNESDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Patient navigators may help increase rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening among ethnically diverse patients, particularly non-English speaking and black patients, according to a study published in the May 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Karen E. Lasser, M.D., M.P.H., from the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues investigated the association between patient navigation and increased CRC screening among 465 ethnically diverse patients enrolled between 2008 and 2009. The participants spoke English, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, or Spanish as their primary language and were not up to date with CRC screening. Investigators randomly allocated patients to receive usual care or intervention by a language-concordant navigator who offered screening by fecal occult blood testing or colonoscopy. Outcomes were CRC screening completion within one year and detection of adenoma or cancer by colonoscopy.

The investigators found that, during the one-year follow-up, intervention patients were significantly more likely to undergo CRC screening, to undergo colonoscopy screening, and to have adenomas detected compared to control patients. Patient navigation was found to be especially effective for black patients and those whose primary language was other than English.

"Patient navigation may represent a powerful tool for increasing CRC screening rates among racially diverse patients. Focusing patient navigation on populations of patients who are black and whose primary language is other than English may be a particularly effective approach to reducing CRC screening disparities for these patients," the authors write.

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