According to results presented by Washington et al at the AACR Virtual Meeting: COVID-19 and Cancer, administering colorectal cancer screening kits through a socially distant drive-by flu vaccination clinic increased access to colorectal cancer screening among Black Americans.
“Black Americans are about 40% more likely to die from colorectal cancer,” said study author Carmen Guerra, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. While routine screening for colorectal cancer can improve survival, the COVID-19 pandemic—which has disproportionately impacted Black Americans—has led to a dramatic reduction in colorectal cancer screening due to economic hardships and fears of virus exposure, explained Dr. Guerra.
Dr. Guerra, Rev. Miles, and colleagues recruited local health-care workers and members of the Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc, to administer flu vaccines donated by the Philadelphia Public Health Department and FITs donated by Polymedco Inc. They created an online registration site, which included a survey to determine screening eligibility and a link to an educational video about colorectal cancer. The video intervention led to significant increases in knowledge about colorectal cancer and intent to undergo screening.
“Despite the restrictions posed by the pandemic, the drive-by FluFIT model allowed us to successfully engage community members to educate and screen for colorectal cancer in a safe and effective manner,” said Dr. Guerra.