OSU James Cancer Center to mail at-home colon cancer screening kits to Black patients
The Ohio State University James Cancer Treatment and Research Center has launched a new at-home screening program aimed at improving the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer in the historically under-served Black community.
Studies show that Black patients are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 40% more likely to die from the disease compared to non-Hispanic white patients. The university's cancer center says the first step toward correcting these inequities is to get more Black patients screened and to make those screenings as accessible as possible. That is the goal of the new program. As part of this initiative, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC–James) will be mailing free at-home colon cancer screening tests to Black primary care patients who have not yet had their routine colonoscopy.
Four hundred patients who qualify for a colorectal cancer screening but have not yet received one were mailed at-home screening kits. The kits can detect microscopic amounts of blood in the stool that can be an early sign of colon cancer. For patients with an abnormal or concerning result, patient navigators follow up to schedule a colonoscopy so that polyps can be identified, removed and tested.
The university said the goal is to help reduce the screening disparity between Black and white patients by half in the program’s first year. To do this, OSUCCC–James has partnered with organizations within the Black community to spread the word and encourage routine screenings. The program focuses on Black men and women between the ages of 45 and 75.
Doctors say it can take between 10 and 15 years for colorectal polyps to develop into cancer, and they nearly always occur without symptoms, which is why early detection is so important.
Colon cancer screenings are recommended every ten years for adults with average risk starting at age 45, and sooner for those with a family history or other risk factors.