In an effort to increase patient participation and the diagnosis of early colon cancers, Kaiser Permanente switched their annual screening test from the traditional guiac kit to the FIT method in 2006. The OC FIT-CHEK® test, manufactured by Polymedco, is a quick and easy screening method that allows patients to perform the test at home, requiring only one sample collection and no changes to diet or medication.
Kaiser Permanente mailed the FIT at-home kits to thousands of their eligible members between the ages of 50 and 80, and followed up with automated phone call reminders. "When I received this kit from my doctor, I would never have guessed that it would save my life," said Dale Gordon from Rialto, Calif. "Colorectal cancer screening can be very personal, but being able to take this simple test at home made me get rid of any excuses to get screened. I am so grateful that I took that step. Thank you to the physicians at Kaiser Permanente who treated me for stage 2 colorectal cancer. Had I kept giving excuses, I might be living with stage 4 cancer and not even know it."
Since 2006, Kaiser Permanente has screened more than 640,000 members with the new kits and saw compliance increase to 73 percent in 2009, a full 10 percent higher than the national average. With early detection, Kaiser Permanente has seen stage 4 colorectal cancers decrease by 30 percent.
"Preventative care is critical to the future of our country's health—physically and economically," said Dr. Weisz, who understands the benefits of avoiding unnecessary invasive procedures or costly treatments. Last year, Kaiser Permanente spent $150 million on chemotherapy alone for advance cancer treatment. With early diagnosis, there is a strong likelihood that patients will not have to undergo chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. This is a better use of our patients' health care dollars.
"For families faced with cancer, we want to offer them a good prognosis and a cost effective treatment plan. The key is annual screening to detect colorectal cancer at an early stage when it is treatable and beatable."
For more information on FIT screening and how you can get FIT to fight colorectal cancer, visit www.fittofightcancer.com.
Source: Kaiser Permanente