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Approaching the Hard-to-Reach in Organized Colorectal Cancer Screening: an Overview of Individual, Provider and System Level Coping Strategies

1 JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
2 JC bowel cancer education center, Prince of Wales Hospital, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
3 School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong, China
4 General Practice and Primary Care, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, UK
5 Institute of Digestive Disease, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong
6 State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Background: Despite the proven effectiveness of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening on reduction of CRC mortality, the uptake of CRC screening remains low. Participation rate is one of determinants for the success of organized population-based screening program. This review aims to identify those who are hard-to-reach, and summarize the strategies to increase their screening rate from individual, provider and system levels. Methods: A systematic search of electronic English databases was conducted on the factors and strategies of uptake in CRC screening for the hard-to-reach population up to May 2017. Discussion: The coverage rate and participation rate are two indexes to identify the hard-to-reach population in organized CRC screening program. However, the homeless, new immigrants, people with severe mental illness, the jail intimates, and people with characteristics including lower education levels and/or low socioeconomic status, living in rural/remote areas, without insurance, and racial minorities are usually recognized as hard-to-reach populations. For them, organized screening programs offer a better coverage, while novel invitation approaches for eligible individuals and multiple strategies from primary care physicians are still needed to enhance screening rates among subjects who are hard-to-reach. Suggestions implied the effectiveness of interventions at the system level, including linkages to general practice; use of decision making tools; enlisting supports from coalition; and the continuum from screening to diagnosis and treatment. Conclusion: Organized CRC screening offers a system access to approach the hard-to-reach populations. To increase their uptake, multiple and novel strategies from individual, provider and system levels should be applied. For policymakers, public healthcare providers and community stakeholders, it is a test to tailor their potential needs and increase their participation rates through continuous efforts to eliminate disparities and inequity in CRC screening service.
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Keywords colorectal cancer; screening; participation; uptake; hard-to-reach

Citation: Jason Liwen Huang, Yuan Fang, Miaoyin Liang, Shannon TS Li, Simpson KC Ng, Zero SN Hui, Jessica Ching, Harry Haoxiang Wang, Martin Chi Sang Wong. Approaching the Hard-to-Reach in Organized Colorectal Cancer Screening: an Overview of Individual, Provider and System Level Coping Strategies. AIMS Public Health , 2017, 4(3): 289-300. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2017.3.289


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