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Quality Corner: Colorectal Cancer Awareness month

“Don’t Assume” is the public awareness campaign for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s 2019 National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Their goal for the campaign is to “challenge assumptions and misconceptions about colorectal cancer by dispelling myths, raising awareness, and connecting people across the country with information and support.” You can leverage the heightened awareness of colorectal cancer screening this month to identify patients who are overdue for screening and plan outreach to help get them in for needed screenings.
 
You may recall that LHP shared information last summer that Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) has been proven to be a good alternative for patients unable or unwilling to get a colonoscopy. Recently, further support for FIT for colorectal cancer screening among asymptomatic, average-risk adults was published in a meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine1 which included 31 cross-sectional studies. A recent New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) Journal Watch article about the analysis called for “better education to inform patients and physicians that regular screening with FITs is not a ‘second-best’ strategy or less than a ‘gold standard’ strategy for average-risk persons.” You can access the free abstract of the Annals of Internal Medicine article here. To view the full editorial, a subscription to Annals of Internal Medicine is required.
 
Related to National Colorectal Cancer Awareness and the recognition of effectiveness of FIT, LHP has partnered with one primary care practice to mail FIT kits directly to patients who are overdue for their colorectal cancer screening and who are unwilling to complete a colonoscopy. The pilot aims to improve screening rates for the practice’s LHP patients and catch polyps before they become cancerous, or detect colorectal cancer in its early stages, when treatment is most effective. LHP will evaluate the impact of the pilot and will share results and any plans to expand the initiative to additional practices later in 2019.
 
1 Imperiale TF, Gruber RN, Stump TE, Emmett TW, Monahan PO. Performance Characteristics of Fecal Immunochemical Tests for Colorectal Cancer and Advanced Adenomatous Polyps: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.7326/M18-2390
 

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