March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
The University of South Florida College of Public Health’s (COPH) Florida Prevention Research Center (FPRC) in collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center finished the second year of their FluFIT program to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates specifically using the fecal immunochemical test (FIT).
CRC is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Most of these deaths could be prevented with routine screening. FIT is the least invasive, least expensive form of screening involving a take-home kit with instructions on collecting a stool sample. During analysis, if blood is found there may be colon polyps or early stage CRC and a follow-up colonoscopy is scheduled.
In the FluFIT program, it has been shown that distributing the take-home FIT kits during the annual flu vaccine process increases CRC screening rates, thus the name FluFIT.
“When you opt for the FIT instead of the more invasive colonoscopy, you will have to do the FIT annually. Typically the flu vaccine is also done annually, so the FluFIT program is a way of pairing them up so that you can get them done at the same time,” said Dr. Dinorah Martinez Tyson, alumna and assistant professor of community and family health at the COPH.
In 2016, the FPRC’s Community Advisory Board selected working with employers as one of the ways to reach individuals over the age of 50 who are at a higher risk for developing colorectal cancer.
As a collaborator with Moffitt in the past years, the FPRC team reached out to Debra Cheek, Moffitt wellness coordinator, to talk about the FluFIT program. Moffitt team members are required to get the flu vaccine annually so they do not expose patients with compromised immune systems to the virus.Friday Letter Submission