Colon Screening saves lives: Massachusetts Success Story

A new report by our CNiC team summarizes the rapid changes in colorectal cancer screening in Massachusetts and more broadly through New England over 15 years from 1997 onwards. The move from scientific evidence to public health strategy hinged on a sustained strategy described by the collective impact approach where common goals, a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, and continuous communication with a backbone organization sustain changes that lead to improved population health outcomes.
The Massachusetts Colorectal Cancer Workgroup united academics and clinicians from medical and public health schools across the state, and together with the American Cancer Society, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, coordinated and facilitated a broad range of outreach and education activities for providers and the general public. The goal of these activities was to increase awareness and use of colon cancer screening tests.
The results, summarized in a new short report show a marked increase in screening in Massachusetts, to the highest level in the nation, and a drop in mortality from colon cancer by 27%.
More will be done to sustain these changes. Of course, many states and regions of the country still have much lower levels of colorectal screening. Renewed effort to bring access to colorectal cancer screen are needed as this strategy clearly saves lives. Other prevention approaches to complement screening are also summarized in or 8ightWays to prevent colon cancer and other tools available from this CNiC site under the “extras” button.

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