Colorectal Cancer Screening Program

The goal of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program is to increase screening rates among MGH Chelsea patients and to reduce screening disparities between white and Latino patients.


The Colorectal Cancer Screening Program at MGH Chelsea works to decrease disparities in colorectal cancer screening rates between Latino and white patients, and to increase screening rates among low-income patients and patients with limited English proficiency.

The Colon Cancer Care Coordinators provide education in Spanish, English, and Serbo-Croatian on colorectal cancer (CRC) screening options and explore a patient’s barriers to CRC screening. They offer “navigation” to help overcome barriers, including scheduling and reminding patients about appointments, helping patients access insurance, explaining instructions for their gastrointestinal preparation, translating written material, and providing emotional support.  The coordinators also accompany patients to their gastrointestinal appointments and provide medical interpretation if needed. 

About this Program

To evaluate efficacy of the program, a randomized controlled trial was carried out from January to October of 2007.  Patients 52 to 79 years old at MGH Chelsea who were overdue for CRC screening were randomized to an intervention group and assigned a navigator, and a control group that received usual care.  Over the nine-month period, intervention patients were more likely to undergo CRC screening than control patients (27% vs. 12%).  The majority of the difference among intervention and control patients was attributable to significantly higher colonoscopy rates (21% vs. 10%), one form of screening.  


In 2013:

  • The program reached out to 160 patients, and 82 patients completed colonoscopies.
  • 82 colonoscopies were completed, and 87 polyps were removed.
  • The Colon Cancer Coordinator made and provided 333 attempts to schedule appointments, 328 appointment reminders, 190 patients with education, 189 provider/clinic communications, 188 procedure/preparation instructions, 145 language translations, 136 emotional support, 40 appointment accompaniments, 36 pharmacy assistance, 19 transportation assistance, 3 home visits, 2 financial aid assistance referrals, 2 childcare assistance and 2 social services referrals.
  • One poster presentation on the colorectal cancer navigation program results that was held in the MGH Bulfinch tent reached 50 people.


The Colorectal Cancer Screening Navigator Program at Mass General Chelsea Healthcare Center is reducing disparities in screening rates among minority patients.


Contact Us

Luz Betancourt

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