Screening is effective in reducing the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer.
However, the rates of colorectal cancer test use continue to be low.
In this study, researchers from the United States analyzed data on the use of home-administered fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy/proctoscopy.
The team sought to estimate current rate of colorectal cancer test use and to identify factors associated with the use or nonuse of tests.
|Seeing a physician in the past year was strongly associated with test use.|
The researchers found that 17% of respondents reported undergoing a home FOBT within the past year.
They also found that 34% reported undergoing an endoscopy within the previous 10 years, and 43% reported undergoing either test within the recommended time intervals.
However, the use of colorectal cancer tests varied by gender, race, ethnicity, age, education, income, health care coverage, and having a usual source of care.
The team determined that seeing a physician within the past year had the strongest association with test use.
They established that the main reasons for not undergoing the tests were lack of awareness and lack of physician recommendation.
Dr Laura Seeff and colleagues concluded, "Less than half of the US population age ≥ 50 years underwent colorectal cancer tests within the recommended time intervals".
"Educational initiatives for patients and providers regarding the importance of colorectal cancer screening, efforts to reduce disparities in test use, and ensuring that all persons have access to routine primary care may help increase screening rates".