Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Global Public Health
Andrea Boyle, PhD, FNAP
Patricia Harris, PhD, RN
As nurses, working towards the best health outcomes for our patients is critical to our care. A large aspect of this care includes being knowledgeable of risk factors and precautions to take to avoid conditions and illnesses. Colorectal cancer remains to be a highly preventable disease, yet it is one of the top five leading causes of cancer deaths in the nation. Preventing colorectal cancer requires the efficient use of screening and education, while also addressing barriers of inconvenience and affordability. This senior thesis delves deeper into colorectal cancer prevention by asking the research question: For young and middle-aged adults, does increased patient education, decision aids, and earlier reminders on colorectal cancer prevention increase the rate of screening? The literature review of this thesis found that combining practical methods of colorectal cancer screening outreach is positively associated with screening rates in underserved middle-aged and older adult populations. Patients in all collected research studies showed an increase in screening when patients were presented with interventions such as decision-aids, educational programs and presentations, as well as free and convenient testing.
Based on the literature review, the research question remains unanswered as the literature review found was only applicable to middle-aged and older adults. The younger adult population, those under the age of 45 years, are deemed to be at low risk for colorectal cancer screening compared to adults over 45 years old. A proposed study is designed to be a quantitative study that will assess participant’s likelihood to screen before and after an educational intervention. The study will use a t-test to compare answers before and after the educational module. A convenience sample of adults between the ages of 25 to 45 who are not diagnosed with colorectal cancer will be recruited within the Kaiser Permanente healthcare system. A follow-up study could be performed to identify whether or not the participants underwent screening within the stated time of 5 years. Additionally, a longitudinal study can help determine if early screening reduced the participants’ risk for colorectal cancer.