Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Expanded Access to Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Rural Populations in Upstate New York

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

September 20, 2007


Central NY

Finger Lakes

Hudson Valley






Residents of rural regions exhibit higher colorectal cancer mortality rates and are less likely to receive routine colorectal cancer screening than urban residents.

Three New York State counties—Cortland, Delaware, and Steuben— were selected for a targeted mail intervention approach because of their rurality, colorectal cancer mortality, and high percentages of late-stage diagnosis. The American Cancer Society developed this intervention to increase enrollment of uninsured and underinsured rural residents, ages 50 to 64 and in need of colorectal cancer screening, into the New York State Cancer Services Program. In addition, they hoped for program-eligible rural residents to begin or to increase their use of home-based colorectal cancer screening tests when made aware of the program.

Residents of rural regions suffer from higher colorectal cancer mortality rates and are less likely than urban populations to receive routine screening. Through a partnership with the National Cancer Institute Cancer Information Service, this project will use Medstat’s Consumer Health Profiles to identify residents aged 50 to 64 in need of colorectal cancer screening.

The information will be used in a direct mail campaign advising recipients to request a no-cost, home-based colorectal cancer screening test through the New York State Cancer Services Program Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative. Interested recipients will contact their county’s Healthy Living Partnership to verify program eligibility, and a Fecal Occult Blood Test or a Fecal Immunochemical Test would be mailed to their homes. Eligible recipients who call would be sent $5 gift cards for responding to the letter, and those who return the completed colorectal test kit would receive $10 gift cards. The project will focus on Cortland, Delaware, and Steuben counties because of their rurality and high rates of unemployment, poverty, colorectal cancer mortality, and late-stage diagnoses.