Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States, much of which could be prevented through adequate screening. Consensus guidelines recommend that high-risk groups initiate screening earlier with colonoscopy and more frequently than average risk persons. However, a large proportion of high risk individuals do not receive regular colonoscopic screening. The Family Health Promotion Project (FHPP) is a randomized-controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a telephone-based counseling intervention to increase adherence to risk-appropriate colonoscopy screening in high risk individuals. Unaffected members of CRC families from two national cancer family registries were enrolled (n=632) and randomized to receive either a single session telephone counseling intervention using Motivational Interviewing techniques or a minimal mail-out intervention. The primary endpoint, rate of colonoscopy screening, was assessed at 6, 12 and 24 months post-enrollment. In this paper, we describe the research design and telephone counseling intervention of the FHPP trial, and report baseline data obtained from the two high risk cohorts recruited into this trial. Results obtained at baseline confirm the need for interventions to promote colonoscopy screening among these high risk individuals, as well as highlighting several key opportunities for intervention, including increasing knowledge about risk-appropriate screening guidelines, and providing both tailored risk information and barriers counseling.
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