Background. Cancer screening in primary care offices is reaching only a modest percentage of adults 50 years and older. The objectives of this study were to determine if screening rates for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer could be significantly increased by two simple office interventions in community-based primary care offices and then maintained over 3 years. Methods. Twenty-two community-based primary care practices were divided randomly into four arms: control, practice-based intervention, patient-based intervention, and both interventions combined. At baseline and annually for 3 years, medical records from approximately 100 male and 100 female patients 50 years and older were randomly selected. The outcome measures were screening rates for mammogram, Pap smear, fecal occult blood test, and flexible sigmoidoscopy or other colonic imaging. Results. Generally each study arm evidenced a significant 1-year increase in screening rates, followed by an overall decline to approximate baseline levels. The first year increases in screening were not related to either invention, alone or in combination. Conclusions. These interventions do not have a significant impact on cancer screening rates in adults over several years. A variety of possible variables may have affected the long-term outcomes.
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