Grant Aims to Boost Colorectal Cancer Screenings

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Susan Rawl (photo courtesy Indiana University) Susan Rawl (photo courtesy Indiana University)
INDIANAPOLIS -

The Washington D.C.-based Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute has awarded a nearly $2.6 million grant to Indiana University cancer researcher Susan Rawl. The funds will go toward an effort to increase colorectal cancer screenings among underserved patients.

Rawl, a professor of adult health at the IU School of Nursing and a researcher at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, and colleagues will target 750 patients between the ages of 50 and 75 who were scheduled for colonoscopies, but either canceled or did not attend their appointments.

The researchers will compare the effectiveness of two interventions that the patients will receive: a mailed tailored DVD by itself and a mailed tailored DVD plus a telephone-based patient navigator. IU says these interventions are designed to educate people about the importance of screenings and provide assistance in overcoming each person's barriers.

"Through this study, we seek to learn how to best educate and motivate people to get a colorectal cancer screening test because it can be a life saver," said Rawl. "This study – when completed – has the potential to change how health care providers and health care systems educate, counsel, and prepare patients for screening. Our results may lead them to implement one or both of these interventions in a variety of health systems as a way to increase this much-needed screening."

The university says colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States and about half of those deaths could be prevented through a wide implementation of colon cancer screening.

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