Development of community plans to enhance survivorship from colorectal cancer: Community-based participatory research in rural communities
In 2002, 10.4% of the 10 million persons alive who have ever been diagnosed with cancer had colorectal cancer (CRC). Barriers, such as distance, terrain, access to care and cultural differences, to CRC survivorship may be especially relevant in rural communities. We tested the hypothesis that teams from rural cancer coalitions and hospitals would develop a Community Plan (CP) to enhance CRC survivorship. We used community-based participatory research and the PRECEDE-PROCEED model to train teams from rural cancer coalitions and hospitals in Pennsylvania and New York. We measured knowledge at three points in time and tested the change with McNemar's test, corrected for multiple comparisons (p < 0.0167). We also conducted a qualitative review of the CP contents. Fourteen (93.3%) of the 15 coalitions or hospitals initially recruited to the study completed a CP. Knowledge in public health, sponsorship of A National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship, and CRC survivorship and treatment increased. Teams identified perceived barriers and community assets. All teams planned to increase awareness of community assets and almost all planned to enhance treatment-related care and psychosocial care for the CRC survivor; 50% planned to enhance primary care and CRC screening. The study demonstrated the interest and ability of rural organizations to plan to enhance CRC survivorship, including linkage of CRC survivorship to primary care. Rural cancer coalitions and hospitals may be a vehicle to develop local action for A National Action Plan. Access to more comprehensive care for CRC cancer survivors in rural communities appears to be facilitated by the community-based initiative described and investigated in this study. Efforts such as these could be replicated in other rural communities and may impact the care and quality of life of survivors with many types of cancers. While access to health services may be increased through community-based initiatives, we still need to measure the impact of such initiatives on the long term health and well being of cancer survivors in rural locations.
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