A Systematic Review of Clinic and Community Intervention to Increase Fecal Testing for Colorectal Cancer in Rural and Low-Income Populations in the United States – How, What and When?

Background: Interventions to improve fecal testing for colorectal cancer (CRC) exist, but are not yet routine practice. We conducted this systematic review to determine how implementation strategies and contextual factors influenced the uptake of interventions to increase Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) and Fecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT) for CRC in rural and low-income populations in the United States.

Methods: We searched Medline and the Cochrane Library from January 1998 through July 2016, and Scopus and clinicaltrials.gov through March 2015, for original articles of interventions to increase fecal testing for CRC. Two reviewers independently screened abstracts, reviewed full-text articles, extracted data and performed quality assessments. A qualitative synthesis described the relationship between changes in fecal testing rates for CRC, intervention components, implementation strategies, and contextual factors. A technical expert panel of primary care professionals, health system leaders, and academicians guided this work.

Results: Of 4218 citations initially identified, 27 unique studies reported in 29 publications met inclusion criteria. Studies were conducted in primary care (n = 20, 74.1%), community (n = 5, 18.5%), or both (n = 2, 7.4%) settings. All studies (n = 27, 100.0%) described multicomponent interventions. In clinic based studies, components that occurred most frequently among the highly effective/effective study arms were provision of kits by direct mail, use of a pre-addressed stamped envelope, client reminders, and provider ordered in-clinic distribution. Interventions were delivered by clinic staff/community members (n = 10, 37.0%), research staff (n = 6, 22.2%), both (n = 10, 37.0%), or it was unclear (n = 1, 3.7%). Over half of the studies lacked information on training or monitoring intervention fidelity (n = 15, 55.6%).

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Citation: Davis, M.M., Freeman, M., Shannon, J., Coronado, G.D. Stange, K.C., Guise, J., Wheeler, S.B., & Buckley, D.I. (2018). A systematic review of clinic and community intervention to increase fecal testing for colorectal cancer in rural and low-income populations in the United States – How, what and when? BMC Cancer, 18(1), 40. DOI 10.1186/s12885-017-3813-4.