Colorectal cancer screening in Canada: 2021/2022

Strategies for Underscreening Populations through Community Engagement

The Underscreened Populations initiative focuses on increasing provincial and territorial partners’ capacity in identifying and reaching underscreened populations. This initiative focuses on colorectal screening since currently no screening program is reaching the 60% national participation target. The Developing Strategies for Underscreened Populations through Community Engagement funded projects are one aspect of the Partnership’s Underscreened Populations initiative.

The initiatives started in early 2020 and completed in 2021 and 2022. Four provinces and one territory participated.

Northwest Territories icon

Northwest Territories
The program employs various strategies to increase demand from both providers and the community side and also to reduce barriers to access to colorectal cancer screening in the Beaufort Delta region. After engaging key stakeholders, a project to mail fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits to residents was tested in 2020. Follow-up interviews were conducted with a selection of residents who chose to participate in screening, as well as residents who did not. Based on the feedback received, the program adapted its promotional materials to be available in appropriate Indigenous languages, updated kit instructions to be more pictograph-based, and shifted from residential mail delivery to distribution of kits by health centres outside of major population hubs.

Alberta icon

The Creating Health Equity in Cancer Screening project aims to reduce health inequities in Northeast Calgary by engaging with community members and healthcare workers to better understand reasons and motivations for screening for cancer. The results of this engagement will inform the co-design of an outreach strategy aimed at increasing cancer screening awareness, and ultimately participation.

In addition, the Access to integrated Cancer Screening initiative, which is being led by nurse practitioners, aims to provide cervical and colorectal cancer screening using Screen Test mobile screening mammography units in rural and remote communities. This initiative will eventually serve eligible population in about 120 rural communities, including 26 Indigenous communities.

Manitoba icon

The program is looking to better understand, address and overcome barriers that impede participation in colorectal cancer screening among Indigenous populations. Partners include Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, CancerCare Manitoba, Southeast Resource Development Council, Interlake Reserves Tribal Council, Berens River, Fisher River, Lake St. Martin and Sagkeeng.

Strategies include obtaining knowledge in a culturally appropriate setting through community engagement, creating community-based toolkits to encourage participation, identifying primary and secondary audiences, and measuring qualitative and quantitative success. These strategies align with the priorities of cancer screening, community-centred care and Indigenous cancer control set out in the 2020 Roadmap to Cancer Control for Manitoba. Due to COVID-19, in-person engagement shifted to collecting local perspectives on colon health testing over the phone. Participants have expressed their genuine appreciation for the social interaction during calls — a way to keep connected to the communities despite the pandemic.

New Brunswick icon

New Brunswick
The Developing Strategies for Underscreened Populations Through Community Engagement project aims to provide recommendations for improving existing cancer screening education, promotion and awareness communications strategies.

Newfoundland and Labrador icon

Newfoundland and Labrador
Strategies are being developed to increase participation in the population-based colon cancer screening program, utilizing analytics and engagement strategies to ensure appropriate colorectal cancer screening is being done throughout the province.

The development of an analytics dashboard will serve to better understand and strategize on population-based colorectal cancer screening. The analytic phase will lead to engagement with community partners and underscreened cohorts to seek and develop targeted recruitment.

This will be achieved through the development of an analytics dashboard to better understand and strategize on population based colorectal cancer screening. The analytic phase will lead to engagement with community partners and under screened cohorts to seek and develop targeted recruitment.

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