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 21 May 2018

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News

Direct mailing of fecal occult blood tests to increase screening

Direct mailing of fecal occult blood test kits combined with follow-up reminders promotes a rapid increase in the use of these tests, find researchers in the Journal of the national Cancer Institute.

News image

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In this study, researchers from the United States assessed the impact of direct mailing fecal occult blood test (FOBT) kits to increase colorectal cancer screening in residents of Wright County, Minnesota.

The team mailed a colorectal cancer screening questionnaire to 1451 randomly selected residents.

The residents were divided into 3 groups:

  1. The first group (control) received the questionnaire only.
  2. The second received FOBT kits by direct mail with reminders.
  3. The third group received FOBT kits by direct mail without reminders.

Study participants were sent a follow-up questionnaire after 1 year.

The research team used the questionnaire responses to estimate the 1-year change in self-reported screening rates.

The team found that the estimated response rate at baseline was 87%. The self-reported adherence to FOBT guidelines was 26%, and overall adherence to any colorectal cancer screening test guidelines was 56%.

They found that the 1-year rate changes for self-reported adherence to FOBT use were 2% for the control group, 17% for the direct mail FOBT only group, and 23% for the FOBT with reminders group.

The 1-year rate changes for self-reported adherence to any colorectal cancer screening test were 8% for the control group, 13% for the direct mail FOBT only group, and 14% for the FOBT with reminders group.

Dr Timothy Church's team concluded, "Direct mailing of FOBT kits combined with follow-up reminders promotes more rapid increases in the use of FOBT".

"[It] nearly doubles the increase in overall rate of adherence to colorectal cancer screening guidelines in a general population".

J Natl Cancer Inst 2004; 96(10): 770-80
28 May 2004

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