(HealthDay News) — A small but non-significant increase in screening rates for colon cancer was observed after a multicomponent intervention was tested in rural communities in Colorado, according to research published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

John M. Westfall, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues used a community-based participatory research approach to develop a multicomponent intervention to increase rates of colon cancer screening. In a controlled trial, nine counties received the intervention and seven counties served as controls. Baseline and post-intervention telephone surveys were used to assess rates for colon cancer screening.

The researchers found that, in the intervention region, the percentage of respondents who reported ever having had any test to screen for colon cancer increased from 76 percent at baseline to 81 percent after the intervention, compared with no change in the control region (77 percent at both time points) (P = 0.22). The extent of exposure to intervention materials was linked to a significant and cumulative increase in screening rates for colon cancer.

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“A 5 percent increase in overall screening in rural communities is an important finding and could result in thousands of additional screening tests and fewer colon cancer deaths,” the authors write.

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