Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative: Successful development and implementation of a community-based colorectal cancer registry

David A Rothenberger, Deanna L. Dalberg, Anna Leininger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The aim of the Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative is to implement risk-specific interventions to decrease colorectal cancer morbidity and mortality by 1) assisting clinicians to identify and educate individuals and families at high and increased risk for colorectal cancer; 2) providing professional and community education; 3) maintaining a database to evaluate the effectiveness of preventive intervention strategies; and 4) facilitating colorectal cancer research. METHODS: Two physician groups and the University Cancer Center founded the Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative as a not-for-profit organization. Health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, a consulting firm, and other practice groups provide continuing financial and other support. A database registry, risk-assessment survey, and consent document were developed and then were approved by an institutional review board. A trial enrollment was conducted. Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative services are available to the public. Participants are actively recruited through member organizations. Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative assesses hereditary risk and will document family history in the medical record on request. A personally targeted reply letter reviews risk factors and recommends specific screening and surveillance strategies for participants and their family members, and when appropriate, provides information regarding genetic counseling and testing services. Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative services are free to participants. RESULTS: Since 1999, Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative has sent individually tailored reply letters providing risk-specific information about colorectal cancer to 717 participants and more than 3200 of their first-degree and second-degree relatives. More than 200 families, previously unidentified as having histories suggestive of hereditary colorectal cancer (attenuated familial polyposis and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer), have been identified; genetic services were explained and recommended. A formal program evaluation confirmed that Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative provides useful information and materials and promotes intrafamilial communication about colon cancer risk and recommendations. CONCLUSIONS: Minnesota Colorectal Cancer Initiative is a model of effective collaboration between academic and community health care providers. A community-based registry is a unique way to identify and provide personal, risk-specific information to large numbers of people at increased or high risk for colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1577
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of the colon and rectum
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cancer registry
  • Cancer risk education
  • Cancer risk-assessment
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Community health
  • Familial cancer
  • Genetics
  • Hereditary cancer
  • Public health research


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