Patient Navigators May Help Reduce Disparities in Cancer Screening

Community members who guide and support patients in receiving care may help improve colorectal cancer screening rates among low-income patients who are African American or whose primary language is not English, according to a study in the May 23 Archives of Internal Medicine. The study included 465 primary care patients at four community health centers and two public hospital-based clinics, about half of whom received an introductory letter from their primary care provider with informational material, followed by telephone calls from one of these patient navigators, who spoke their language.

More than one-third of patients who received the navigator intervention were screened for colorectal cancer within one year, compared with one in five patients who did not. Patients who were African American or whose primary language was not English were more than twice as likely to be screened if they received a navigator.

06-03-2011 12:34 (EDT)