Population Based Case Study. SDOH Colorectal Screening Student

 please see the attached assigned Population Based Case Study. You are to  complete all the questions in the attached document -this should be  submitted in an APA word document and be supported with references where  appropriate. Please make sure to include the name of the Case study in  the title page. Please follow the grading rubric that is attached to see  how this case study will be graded.  

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A Critical Look at Prevention:

Colorectal Cancer


John Epling, MD, MSEd, FAAFP Mary Applegate, MD, MPH Anna Zendell, PhD, MSW

Elizabeth Whalen, MD

Modified from Cases in Population-Oriented Prevention (C-POP)

prepared by: John W. Epling, MD

Cynthia B. Morrow, MD, MPH Donald A. Cibula, Ph.D.

Preventive Medicine Program SUNY Upstate Medical University

Abstract: This preventive medicine teaching case, part of the Cases in Population‐Oriented Prevention series, discusses the concepts of screening, prevention, and diagnostic test evaluation using the example of colorectal cancer. Features of the case include a health policy exercise concerning community screening programs and an exercise in clinical prevention decision‐making. Recommended Reading:  Lieberman, David A. Screening for Colorectal Cancer. N Engl J Med 2009;

361(12):1170‐1187  U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: Screening for Colorectal Cancer:

Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med 2008 Nov 4;149(9): 627‐637  American Cancer Society/ US Multi‐society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer/ American

College of Radiology (ACS/UMSTF/ACR) Screening and Surveillance for the early detection of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps, 2008: a joint guideline from the American Cancer Society, The US Multi‐Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology. CA Cancer J Clin 2008 May‐Jun; 58(3): 130‐160.

Objectives: At the end of the case, the student will be able to:  Describe the appropriate conditions for adopting colorectal screening programs in terms of

characteristics of the disease, the patient and the screening test.  Describe the appropriate study design to evaluate the effectiveness of a screening program

and discuss the common biases encountered in screening program research.  Calculate the characteristics of diagnostic tests: sensitivity, specificity and positive and

negative predictive values.  Evaluate screening tests in terms of their validity, results and generalizability.  Discuss the concepts of primary and secondary prevention as they relate to common clinical

preventive services.  Evaluate locally obtained survey data about screening rates and attitudes and devise a

community response to increase colorectal cancer screening.


True Positive (TP)

False Positive (FP) 

(Type 1 error)

False Negative (FN) 

(Type II error) True Negative (TN)

Section A: Diagnostic Test Characteristics Screening programs use diagnostic tests to screen for disease. These tests should first be evaluated by their ability to diagnose the target disease. This evaluation is accomplished by studying the performance of the test in a clinical population. You are asked to evaluate the performance of a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to screen for colorectal cancer (CRC). The test consists of taking two samples of stool from each of three consecutive stools and smearing the samples onto cards (one sample per slide, two slides per card). The stool samples are then tested for presence of occult blood. The results of the stool test are reported as either positive (one or more slides positive) or negative (no positive slides). If the screening test is positive, the patient is referred for a definitive test to diagnose CRC. Formulas:

Test  Result 






Disease    Diseased  Non‐Diseased 


  Sensitivity = True Positive/ (True Positive + False Negative) Specificity = True Negative/ (True Negative + False Positive) PPV = True Positive/ (True Positive + False Positive) NPV = True Negative/ (True Negative + False Negative)


1. What is a “reference standard” test for the diagnosis of colorectal cancer? (i.e., what is a definitive diagnostic test for the disease?)

   


You have the following table of data from this hypothetical study of FOBT:

CRC present CRC absent

FOBT positive 40 26

FOBT negative 80 854

(FOBT=Fecal Occult Blood Testing, CRC=Colorectal Cancer)

(The “reference standard” was used to determine the actual presence or absence of colorectal cancer in the study population.)


2 Calculate the following characteristics from the data in the table:

a. Prevalence of colorectal cancer: b. Sensitivity of FOBT: c. Specificity of FOBT: d. Positive Predictive Value of FOBT: e. Negative Predictive Value of FOBT:

3. How would these numbers change if the prevalence of the disease were halved? 4. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of this test for use in a screening

program? Why would we use a test with such a low sensitivity in a screening program?

5. This test has a dichotomous (positive/negative) result. How would you calculate these characteristics for tests with continuous outcomes (like blood pressure, cholesterol)?


Section B: Evaluation of Diagnostic Test Studies Studies of diagnostic tests should be evaluated according to their validity, results and generalizability. You are now given more details about the hypothetical study introduced in Section A. All 1000 study participants (selected from gastroenterologists’ offices in 20 sites across the country) were asked to perform the fecal occult blood test (FOBT). After that, those who had a positive test (defined as one or more slides positive for occult blood) underwent a colonoscopy. Those who had a negative test were sent a survey each year for the next three years to determine whether or not they had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Questions: 1) What are some criteria used to assess the validity of a study of a diagnostic test? Was this study valid?

2) Do the results of the study (and the test characteristics derived from them) show

that this test (FOBT) can accurately diagnose colorectal cancer? How precise are the results (are there confidence intervals given for sensitivity, specificity, etc.)?

3) Generalizability: How well would the information from this study apply to the same diagnostic test performed in a primary care physician’s office (where most screening would likely take place)?


Section C: Screening Programs A screening program consists of the screening test, definitive diagnostic testing, and treatment for the disease. In medical practice, physicians may choose to screen a patient for a disease based on a variety of factors, such as their training, numerous (and sometimes conflicting) guidelines, patient preferences, and common local practice. These factors can influence not only the decision to screen but also the method of screening. Question: 1. What are some criteria that would classify any one screening program as desirable and necessary for your practice or as health policy? Consider factors concerning: the test itself, the disease, and the patients to be screened.

Section D: Evaluation of Screening Programs Though a diagnostic test can accurately screen for a disease, it is still important to examine whether the adoption of the screening program leads to better outcomes for the patients screened. Questions: 1. What is the best study design to evaluate the overall effectiveness of a screening


2. There are five important biases found in evaluations of screening tests and programs: lead-time bias, length-time bias, over-diagnosis bias, selection bias and referral bias. Explain each of these (with examples) and describe ways to reduce each one.


Section E: Health Policy Exercise- Colorectal Cancer Screening The knowledge that you have gained in this session has made you a local expert in screening and prevention. You have been notified by an outside health policy agency of an alarmingly low colorectal cancer screening rate in your county. Your group has been asked by the Health Commissioner to confirm this data and to explore reasons why this rate might be lower. You work with an epidemiologist to conduct a telephone survey of the population about rates of colorectal cancer screening, the results of which are presented in Handout 2. This study was a random telephone survey of residents of Onondaga County, New York conducted in October 2000. Analysis of the demographic data revealed an under‐representation of minorities in the sample. Examine this data for “opportunities to improve,” then answer the following questions in your groups. Questions: 1. What is the most important reason that people do not undergo the recommended

colorectal cancer screening in Onondaga County? 2. What patient-related factors may contribute to the lack of recommended


3. What could health providers do to increase overall screening rates in the county?

4. What could the health department do for both health providers and patients to increase screening rates? 5. What do you think is the best diagnostic test for a community screening program for colorectal cancer: scopes, such as colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy, radiologic interventions such as CT colonography and double contrast barium enema, or FOBT?


Handout 1: Screening Program Evaluation Criteria In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Paul Frame, MD and others evaluated the research evidence behind the “complete physical,” or as he termed it, the “Adult Periodic Health Examination,” and published what he found in a set of articles in the Journal of Family Practice. From this was developed a set of criteria that could be used to evaluate clinical preventive services. This set of criteria, with modifications, is used by the US Preventive Services Task Force to develop its report on Clinical Preventive Services. Listed below, adapted from Frame’s original work and the outline of the USPSTF reports, are some criteria for evaluating a screening test for its usefulness in clinical prevention. A. Considerations regarding the disease for which to be screened:

1. The disease must have an asymptomatic state and progress to a symptomatic state. 2. The disease must be sufficiently prevalent in the population. 3. The disease must cause significant morbidity and mortality. 4. There must be treatments available that will beneficially impact morbidity and mortality.

B. Considerations regarding the tests for the disease:

1. The screening test must be a good test (e.g. sensitivity and specificity, positive and negative predictive value).

2. The evaluation of the screening program must avoid the common significant biases. 3. The screening test must be cost‐effective.

C. Considerations regarding the patient(s) to be screened.

1. The screening test must be acceptable to the patient. 2. The patient must have sufficient life expectancy to derive benefit from the potential life

gained by the screening program.


Handout 2A: Lead time bias Patients who are screened may seem to live longer because they were diagnosed with the disease earlier in the asymptomatic phase; however, the time from true onset of disease to death is the same. In other words, the patient is dying at the same time, but is labeled with the disease for a longer period of time.

 Example: screening for cancer and evaluating based only on 5‐year survival period – the 5 years may include the lead time only and not increased overall survival.

Lead Time Bias

Pre-Symptomatic Disease Symptomatic Disease

Disease Onset Death (Age 55) (Age 67)

Lead Time

Screen-Detected Diagnosis Symptom-Stage Diagnosis (Age 60) (Age 65)


Handout 2B: Length-Time Bias  Length time sampling bias (prognostic selection): When there are differing clinical

progresses of a disease (short vs. long pre-clinical periods), screening may only catch long pre-clinical period disease in program.  Example: Possibly prostate cancer – Are there different types with different prognoses, or

are we mainly catching the one that has the least effect on health?

Screening Event


Handout 2C: Over-diagnosis Bias  Over-diagnosis bias: When the zeal for screening program causes over-interpretation of

tests as positive (increased false positives) and, therefore, more truly healthy people in the group are labeled as having the disease.  Example: Pap smears. If the technicians reading the pap smears are overcalling

abnormalities, the result is increased false positives and false increased survival times. There are now “healthy” people that are categorized as having the disease. Because of this, there will be a greater survival rate in this group.



Handout 2D: Referral and Selection Bias Referral bias: Occurs if persons SEEKING preventive care may be healthier overall than those showing up only for acute problems. This is best minimized with a randomized control trial (RCT) of screening in a community (not a tertiary care) setting.

 Example: Those submitting to colorectal cancer screening – do they eat better, pay more attention to blood in stool, etc.?

Selection bias: Referral and length time biases are two examples of selection bias in evaluation of screening programs. In addition, make sure the subjects are from a community setting rather than a tertiary care medical setting. 100 Individuals with Colorectal Cancer No symptoms (n=22)

Symptoms present but ignored (n=28) Considered seeking medical care; did not due to barriers (n=15)

Visited doctor (n=24) Visited alternative care practitioner (n=7) Received hospital outpatient care (n=3) Hospitalized (n=1)*

*Only 1% of hospitalized persons would receive their treatment in an academic medical center.


Handout 3: Health Policy Exercise Data Highlighted results of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Survey, Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse, NY, October 2000. Study Participants:

Total calls ‐ 4318 Completed ‐ 2331 Eligible ‐ 800 Participated ‐ 410 Table 1. Respondents screened for colon cancer. (FOBT <2 years OR flexible sigmoidoscopy < 5 years ago OR colonoscopy < 10 years ago)

Screened? % Yes 64 No 32 No information 4

Table 2. Reasons given for no recent (< 2 years ago) FOBT

(N=164, more than one response per person accepted)

Reason n= Don’t know 21 Fear of embarrassment 3 Fear of bad news 4 No access to Dr.’s office 5 No convenient appointments 0 Doctor or nurse said screening not needed


No regular doctor 5 No insurance, can’t afford 3 Too busy 5 Didn’t think of it 23 No one told me 40 No reason/no problems 90

Table 3. Impact of physician recommendation for screening on screening rates.

Screened* Yes No


Physician Advised Screening? Yes 61 151 212 Physician Advised Screening? No 6 165 171

Total 67 316 383 *Recommended screening – FOBT annually plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years OR FOBT annually OR flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years.


Table 4. Respondents’ reported sources of information about colorectal cancer screening.

Reprinted with Permissions: Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening: A Comparison of Reports from Primary Care Physicians and Average‐Risk Adults. Carrie N. Klabunde, PhD,* Sally W. Vernon, PhD,† Marion R. Nadel, PhD, et al. Medical Care; Volume 43, Number 9, September 2005


Source % At work 1.5 Radio 4.3 Brochures, billboards, etc. 5.0 Other 12.4 Relative, friend, co‐worker 13.9 Magazine, newspaper 25.4 Television 28.8 Physician/nurse 56.7

Handout 4: Comparison of 2008 ACS/USMSTF/ACR Guidelines with those of the USPSTF In March 2008, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Multi‐Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology released a consensus guideline for colorectal cancer screening. In October 2008 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also updated their screening recommendations.

As illustrated in the table below, these guidelines are more similar than different. The primary message from all of the involved organizations remains “Colorectal cancer screening saves lives; if you are 50 or older, choose a test and get screened.” Age to begin and end screening, and test prioritization


Age to begin and end screening in average risk adults

Begin and age 50, and end screening at a point where curative therapy would not be offered due to life-limiting co-morbidity

Begin screening at age 50. Routine screening between ages 76-85 is not recommended. Screening after age 85 is not recommended.

Screening in high risk adults

Detailed recommendations based on personal risk and family history

No specific recommendations for age to begin testing or type of testing

Prioritization of tests

Tests are grouped into those that (1) primarily are effective at detecting cancer, and (2) those that are effective at detecting cancer and adenomatous polyps. Group 2 is preferred over group 1 due to the greater potential for prevention.

No specific prioritization of tests, though recommendations acknowledge that direct visualization techniques offer substantial benefit over fecal tests

Stool Testing, Guaiac based FOBT (gFOBT)

Annual screening with high sensitivity guaiac based tests

Annual screening with high sensitivity guaiac based tests

Stool Testing, Immunochemical-based FOBT (FIT)

Annual screening Annual screening

Stool Testing, Stool DNA (sDNA)

sDNA is an acceptable option Insufficient evidence to recommend for or against sDNA

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Screening every 5 years. Screening every 5 years, with annual gFOBT or FIT is an option

Screening every 5 years, with gFOBT every 3 years

Colonoscopy Screening every 10 years Screening every 10 years

CT Colonography

Screening every 5 years Insufficient evidence to recommend for or against CT colonography

Double Contrast Barium Enema (DCBE)

Screening every 5 years Not addressed

Reprinted by the permission of the American Cancer Society, Inc. from www.cancer.org. All rights reserved. 1- Screening and Surveillance for the Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer and Adenomatous Polyps, 2008: A Joint

Guideline from the American Cancer Society, the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of

Radiology Levin B, Lieberman D, McFarland B, et al. CA Cancer J Clin, May 2008; 58: 130 – 160. 2- Screening for Colorectal Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; Annals of Internal Medicine 2008 149: 627-637









   Objectives  (30 pts)

  21-30 pts

Student’s responses demonstrate excellent understanding of all the stated case study objectives through clear and detailed support within each of the question responses throughout the case study.


  11-20 pts

Student’s responses demonstrate understanding of most of the stated case study objectives with good support within the question responses throughout the case study. 


  0-10 pts

Student’s responses demonstrate minimal understanding of the stated case study objectives with limited support within the question responses throughout the case study. 


   Question responses/answers  (60 pts)

  41-60 pts

Students answer each question accurately using epidemiological processes from readings and supplemental resources to validate each answer choice.


  21-40 pts

Students answer most questions accurately using epidemiological processes from readings and supplemental resources to validate most answer choices. 


  0-20 pts

Students answer limited questions accurately using few epidemiological processes from readings and supplemental resources to validate some answer choices. 



(60 pts)

41-60 pts

Answers/responses to cases study questions clearly demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of epidemiological concepts and the ability to problem solve using the epidemiological process in surveillance and investigation of health-related states or events

  21-40 pts

Answers/responses to case study questions mostly demonstrate a fairly good understanding of epidemiological concepts and a good but somewhat unclear ability to problem solve using the epidemiological process in surveillance and investigation of health-related states or events


  0-20 pts

Answers/responses to case study questions minimally





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