A recent study demonstrated increases in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates through the use of a nurse navigation program. The results were published in the Journal of Cancer Education.

“Despite the benefits of screening in reducing CRC incidence and mortality rates, CRC screening prevalence is significantly underutilized by the majority of individuals,” explained the study investigators in their report.

The study was performed at a health care facility in Istanbul, Turkey. Participants (N=110) were randomized 1:1 into either an interventional group with access to a nurse navigation program or to a control group receiving usual care without nurse navigation.

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Participants were interviewed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months from baseline. Interviews addressed sociodemographic information, cognitive function, and CRC risk, in addition to medical advice, beliefs, readiness, and behavior as related to CRC screening tests.

At 3 months from baseline, the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) had been completed by 81.8% of nurse-navigated participants, compared with 9.1% of control participants. At 6 months, 83.6% of nurse-navigated participants and 10.9% of control participants had completed this test.

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For colonoscopies, at 3 months, the procedure had been completed by 14.5% of nurse-navigated participants and 3.6% of control participants. By 6 months, 21.8% of nurse-navigated participants had completed colonoscopies, while there was no change for control participants (3.6%). Differences between groups were significant for FOBT and colonoscopy comparisons at both time points.

The group receiving nurse navigation showed statistically significant mean improvements in perceptions regarding CRC screening benefits and barriers after the completion of the program.

“After this program, it was found that CRC screening participation rates were significantly higher in the nurse-navigated group than in the nonnavigated group,” wrote the investigators in their report.


Temucin E, Nahcivan NO. The effects of the nurse navigation program in promoting colorectal cancer screening behaviors: a randomized controlled trial. J Cancer Educ. 2020;35(1):112-124.