Introduction: The incidence of colorectal cancer in portions of rural Appalachia is higher than in much of the United States. To reduce this disparity, cancer-control strategies could be adapted to and implemented in rural Appalachian communities. The objectives of this pilot study were to develop and test community-based participatory research methods to examine whether cancer coalitions in Appalachia could effectively disseminate print materials from a national media campaign intended to promote colorectal cancer awareness to their rural communities.
Methods: This pilot study used a two-arm intervention design with random selection of 450 community organizations from nine counties with cancer coalitions (the coalition arm) and 450 organizations from nine matched counties without a cancer coalition (the noncoalition arm) in northern Appalachia. The primary outcome measures were participation by and interest of community organizations in dissemination of materials from Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign, a national campaign to promote colorectal cancer education and screening. The data were collected with prestudy and poststudy surveys.
Results: One-hundred thirty (29%) organizations participated in the coalition arm, and 38 (8%) participated in the noncoalition arm (P < .001). Within the coalition arm, 86 of the 119 (66%) organizations that responded to the question about influence reported being influenced to participate by the local coalition. Initial interest in dissemination was high in each of the study arms but remained higher throughout the study in the coalition arm than the noncoalition arm.
Conclusion: Community cancer coalitions can increase the local dissemination of material from a national media campaign in rural Appalachia. Continued development and study of methods for coalitions to translate and implement cancer-control strategies at a local level in Appalachia is warranted.