An innovative strategy to reach the underserved for colorectal cancer screening

J Cancer Educ. 2015 Jun;30(2):237-43. doi: 10.1007/s13187-014-0702-2.


Hispanics are an underserved population in terms of colorectal cancer (CRC). CRC is the second leading cause of cancer incidence among Hispanic men and women, and Hispanics have lower screening rates than non-Hispanic whites. The overall purpose of this project was to provide CRC information, education, and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) kits to Hispanics in a rural three-county region of Washington State. We held a series of 47 community health fair events that incorporated the use of a giant inflatable, walk-through colon model with physical depictions of healthy tissue, polyps, and CRC. We used a pre/post-design to look for changes in familiarity with CRC before and after walking through the colon among adults aged 18 and older (n = 947). McNemar's test analysis indicated significant differences in the distribution of the percentage of correct participant responses to CRC-related questions from pre- to post-test after an educational tour of the colon. Results from logistic regression analysis identified multiple participant characteristics associated with self-reported likelihood of being screened for CRC in 3 months following post-test. We distributed 300 free FOBT kits to be analyzed at no charge to the end user and to attendees aged 50 and older who toured the inflatable colon; 226 FOBT kits (75.3%) were returned for analysis. The use of the inflatable colon was an innovative way to attract people to learn about CRC and CRC screening modalities. Furthermore, the response to our distribution of FOBT kits indicates that if given the opportunity for education and access to services, this underserved population will comply with CRC screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Rural Population