Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and women in the United States, where the lifetime risk for developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20 (5%). Regular screening among adults aged 50‒75 plays an important role in both colorectal cancer prevention (by finding and removing precancerous polyps) and treatment (by detecting cancer early in its development). However, screening rates among these adults are often affected by patient barriers, provider barriers, and health system barriers. Additionally, screening rates differ across patient populations, with lower rates occurring among minority racial groups, individuals lacking health insurance coverage, and individuals residing in rural areas of the country.
The Community Cancer Screening Program (CCSP), operated by the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia, aims to increase cancer screening among low-income, underinsured, and uninsured patients aged 50–64 who access federally qualified community health centers in rural settings. The intervention’s approach is based on the patient navigation framework, which accounts for the cultural, socioeconomic, and other factors that create patient-, provider-, and system-level barriers to cancer screening and lead to cancer health disparities. CCSP uses health navigators to overcome these barriers to colonoscopy screening. Health navigators collaborate with partnering clinics (e.g., health centers, hospitals, gastroenterology services) to implement CCSP program activities.
Have you considered using community health workers, health navigators, or other participants to help break down barriers to healthcare? What has been your experience?