Interventions to Improve Care Related to Colorectal Cancer Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities

Proper screening for colorectal cancer can lead to early detection and treatment of precancerous lesions and lower mortality rates. But racial and ethnic minorities (and those with lower incomes and inadequate insurance) are less likely than others to be screened.

These researchers systematically reviewed the medical literature for interventions conducted within health care systems that have the potential to decrease racial and ethnic disparities in the care of colorectal cancer. They found 33 articles to include in their analysis and categorized them as follows:

  • Patient-level interventions—education by trained professional or community health worker or by self-administered media, such as a computer, brochure or video.
  • Patient navigator interventions—phone calls to aid with screening, bowel prep instructions, appointment reminders, transportation or translation services.
  • Provider/system level interventions—didactic education sessions for providers stressing national guidelines for colorectal cancer and the importance of screening.

They found that patient education combined with navigation improved screening rates by 15 percentage points. Similarly, provider-directed educational interventions increased screening 10 to 15 percentage points. “The onus is now on researchers to continue to evaluate and refine these interventions,” the authors write, “and begin to expand them to the entire colon cancer care continuum.”