Increasing uptake of colon cancer screening in a medically underserved population with the addition of blood-based testing

Stephanie Ioannou, Kyle Sutherland, Daniel A. Sussman, Amar R. Deshpande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adherence to colorectal cancer screening in the United States is suboptimal, particularly in medically underserved populations due to significant barriers to care. Unique accessible, low-cost, and non-invasive screening tests for this population could greatly benefit current rates. In this article, we assess patient preference and the impact of offering a blood-based test on screening rates in a cost-free health fair setting from April 2017 to April 2019. Methods: Participants who met colorectal cancer screening eligibility criteria set forth by the United States Preventive Services Task Force were recommended to attend the colon cancer screening station. Those participants who elected to attend were offered various, accepted screening methods, and if they declined, were offered alternative blood-based testing. Screening rates, test outcomes, and the rate of follow up completion of colonoscopy were measured and compared with historic screening outcomes. Results: Of 1401 participants who were recommended to attend, 640 (45.7%) participants were evaluated at the colon cancer screening station, of whom 460 were eligible for testing. Amongst these, none selected colonoscopy, 30 (6.5%) selected fecal immunochemical testing, and 430 (93.5%) selected blood-based testing. Only 2 participants returned the fecal immunochemical tests. In the blood test cohort, 88 were positive and 20 received a follow up colonoscopy. Conclusions: Based on this assessment, blood-based testing is an effective method to increase screening rates in medically underserved populations, though efforts to further improve access to follow up colonoscopy are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number966
JournalBMC Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Health fair
  • Medically underserved populations
  • Non-invasive testing
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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