Engaging Traditional Medicine Providers in Colorectal Cancer Screening Education in a Chinese American Community: A Pilot Study
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Engaging Traditional Medicine Providers in Colorectal Cancer Screening Education in a Chinese American Community: A Pilot Study

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Although colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is effective in preventing colon cancer, it remains underused by Asian Americans. Because Chinese Americans often use traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we conducted a pilot study to explore the feasibility and acceptability of having TCM providers deliver education about CRC screening.


    Four TCM providers (2 herbalists and 2 acupuncturists) were trained to deliver small-group educational sessions to promote CRC screening. Each provider recruited 15 participants aged 50 to 75. Participants completed a baseline survey on CRC-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors and then attended one 2-hour educational session delivered by the providers in Cantonese or Mandarin. Three months later, participants completed a postintervention survey.


    Sixty participants were recruited from the San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood. The average age was 62.4 years. Most participants had limited English proficiency (96.7%), annual household income less than $20,000 per year (60%), and low educational attainment (65.1% < high school education). At postintervention (n = 57), significant increases were found in having heard of CRC (from 52.6% to 79.0%, P < .001) and colon polyps (from 64.9% to 84.2%, P < .001). Knowledge regarding screening frequency recommendations also increased significantly. The rate of ever having received any CRC screening test increased from 71.9% to 82.5% (P <.001). The rate of up-to-date screening increased from 70.2% to 79.0% (P = .04).


    The findings suggest that TCM providers can be trained to deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach on CRC screening within their community. Participants reached by TCM providers increased CRC knowledge and self-reported CRC screening.

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