Mailed fecal-immunochemical test for colon cancer screening

J Community Health. 2010 Jun;35(3):235-9. doi: 10.1007/s10900-010-9227-8.


Various interventions have been implemented to increase the rate of colon cancer screening. The purpose of this study was to determine if persons who are regular patients of a clinic, ages 50-64 years, and not up-to-date with colon cancer screening will complete the at-home fecal-immunochemical test (FIT) if it is mailed to them. This intervention was designed to have the subject avoid the signing of an informed consent and having to ask for the screening test; and, only one stool specimen was needed. Three hundred and fifty potential subjects were randomly selected from an electronic medical record database after meeting inclusion criteria. Eighty-seven fecal immunochemical tests were returned. Seven of the FIT kit results were positive for occult blood. Each respondent was sent a letter giving them their results. A minimal cue CRC screening intervention, a FIT kit sent in the mail without prerequisite of a signed informed consent, was offered to the study subjects. Twenty-six percent of the eligible persons were screened for colon cancer by this method. A mailed FIT kit or one handed to the patient at an office visit has minimal cost which can be recovered through insurance coverage. Commitment by health care providers is necessary for prevention. This method is one of several that could reach the hard to screen population.

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postal Service*
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic