How systems could double colorectal cancer screenings

Giving patients more choice in their colorectal cancer screening options could double the number of patients who get screened, according to a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

When patients are given the choice between a take-home test kit or undergoing a colonoscopy, more patients voluntarily undergo screenings, according to a May 22 press release from Penn Medicine.

The study looked at 738 patients aged 50-74 at a community health center in Pottstown, Pa., where about half of the patients are receiving Medicaid. The baseline colorectal cancer screening rate before the trial was about 22%, much lower than the national average of 72%.

"Offering the choice of colonoscopy or take-home kits seem to have the advantage of maximizing the rates of colonoscopy—the most effective screening tool—while not overloading individuals with too much of a choice, which could have lowered overall participation," Shivan Mehta, MD, Penn Medicine's associate chief innovation officer, associate professor of gastroenterology and the study's lead author, said in the release.

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