Who knew that advancements in automated telephone reminders could actually help increase screening of colon cancer! Well, it's true! A new study published in the July issue of Medical Care finds that a series of three automated telephone reminders increased screening rates by more than 20 percent!
For the study, researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research looked at 6,000 people in Oregon and Washington State who were long overdue for a colon cancer test. They set up half of the patients to receive three automated reminder phone calls, which stressed the importance of screening and offered them an at-home test kit to look for blood in their stool.
The researchers found that within six months time, 22.5 percent of the patients receiving the calls ordered and took the at-home stool test, compared with only 16 percent of people in the control group who did not receive the calls.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, more than 52,000 people die annually of colon cancer. They suggest everyone begin routine colon cancer screenings at age 50.