Use of a patient navigator to increase colorectal cancer screening in an urban neighborhood health clinic

Lina Jandorf, Yahaira Gutierrez, Jaime Lopez, Jennifer Christie, Steven H. Itzkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Racial disparities in CRC incidence and mortality have been well documented. In addition, lower rates of CRC screening among ethnic minorities have been reported. Therefore, we tested the effectiveness of a patient navigator (PN) in increasing compliance with CRC screening in a minority community health setting. Men and women aged 50 or older attending a primary care practice were enrolled if they had not had a fecal occult blood test within the past year, a sigmoidoscopy or barium enema within the past 3-5 years, or a colonoscopy within the past 10 years. Participants were randomly assigned either to receive navigator services (PN+) or not to receive navigator services (PN-). There were no demographic differences between the two groups. Within 6 months of physician recommendation, 15.8% in the PN+ group had complied with an endoscopic examination, compared with only 5% in the PN-group (P =.019). The PN+ group also demonstrated higher rates of fecal occult blood test completion (42.1% vs. 25%, P =.086). Thus, a PN system successfully increases CRC screening rates among a predominantly minority population of low socioeconomic status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-224
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Urban health


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