Readers' theatre: A communication tool for colorectal cancer screening

Melany Cueva, Mark Dignan, Regina Kuhnley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer mortality for Alaska Native people, yet it can be almost totally prevented through colonoscopy screenings. Purpose: A 25-minute Readers' Theatre script was developed with and for Alaska Native and American Indian Community Health Workers (CHWs) and the people in their communities to provide CRC screening information, model ways to talk about CRC screening, increase comfort with talking about CRC, and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Methods: Grounded in Indigenous methodologies, this paper describes the collaborative development, implementation, and evaluation of a CRC Readers' Theatre. Results: 94% (161/172) of participants from 11 Readers' Theatre completed a written evaluation. 90% (145) of participants reported feeling more comfortable talking about CRC and 77% (124) described healthy changes they planned to make. Readers' Theatre was associated with increased knowledge, comfort talking about CRC, and served as a catalyst for positive intent to change behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Readers’ Theatre script, “What’s the Big Deal?,” was developed as part of the Colorectal Cancer Screening Health Communication Project funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). Additional support was provided by an American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Award. This paper was approved by the ANTHC manuscript review committee as education evaluation. We appreciate the many people who generously shared their ideas to breathe life into this colorectal cancer script.


  • Alaska Native and American Indian
  • Colorectal cancer education
  • Community Health Workers
  • Health communication
  • Indigenous methods
  • Readers' Theatre
  • Storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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