Where Dell Medical School's program for at-home CRC screenings stands 3 years in

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A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine analyzes the results of an ongoing project by The University of Texas at Austin's Dell Medical School to mail colorectal cancer screening tests to low-income individuals in Travis County, Texas.

At-home test kits were mailed to 22,838 patients, who received follow-up reminders via text message and mailers. Patients with positive tests were assisted with setting up follow-up colonoscopies. Of the total number, 20 percent participated in the screening process, with an average cost of $55 per person screened. Similar studies of mail-in test kits had an average cost between $94 and $483 and had varying screening rates.

The Texas medical school was awarded a $2.3 million grant from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas in 2017 to fund the project. The research team included members from Dell, the university's LBJ School of Public Affairs and local health network CommUnityCare, all led by Michael Pignone, MD, chair of Dell's department of internal medicine.

The test kit program is part of a larger effort to increase screening numbers in Travis County and improve overall community health by identifying cost-effective measures to reach underserved populations. In total, the program received $4.3 million in grants from CPRIT.

Project team members plan to partner with additional health centers serving low-income and rural communities.

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