Culturally Tailored Navigator Program for Colorectal Cancer Screening

An Evidence-Based Practice


This program uses a culturally tailored intervention to increase colorectal cancer screening among minority racial and ethnic groups that have historically low screening rates. Through the program, a bi-lingual patient navigator works with non-English speaking patients aged 52-79 who are overdue for colorectal cancer screening. The patient navigator educates patients about colorectal cancer and screening methods, and discusses the patient's barriers to screening. The navigators help to schedule appointments, remind patients of appointments, translate preparation instructions, organize transportation to appointments, and accompany patients who do not have a family member available. Following screening, the navigator updates the patients' medical records with screening results. The program has navigators who speak Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Somali.

Goal / Mission

The goal of this program is to decrease barriers and increase rates for colorectal cancer screening among low-income, non-English speaking patients.

Results / Accomplishments

In a randomized, controlled trial participants in the intervention were compared to a usual care control group. Over a 9-month period, intervention patients were significantly more likely to undergo colorectal cancer screening than control patients (27% vs. 12% for any screening, p < 0.001; 21% vs. 10% for colonoscopy, < 0.001). The higher screening rate resulted in the identification of 10.5 polyps per 100 patients in the intervention group, compared to 6.8 in the control group (p = 0.04).

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Sanja Percac-Lima
Chelsea HealthCare Center
151 Everett Ave.
Chelsea, MA 02150
(617) 889-8580
Health / Cancer
Health / Prevention & Safety
Health / Access to Health Services
Massachusetts General Hospital
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Date of publication
Feb 2009
Date of implementation
Jan 2007
Geographic Type
Boston, MA
For more details
Target Audience
Racial/Ethnic Minorities