Colorectal cancer continues to be third leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States.
The prognosis is often dependent on stage of disease -- that is, a small intestinal polyp carries a better prognosis than a large mass.
Recent research has supported the use of colorectal cancer (CRC) tests to reduce disease incidence, morbidity, and mortality.
A new health survey has provided an opportunity to examine the use of these tests in California's ethnically diverse population.
Dr David Etzioni, and colleagues from California, USA used the 2001 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS 2001) to evaluate 1) rates of CRC test use, 2) predictors of the receipt of tests, and 3) reasons for nonuse of CRC tests.
The CHIS 2001 is a random-digit dial telephone survey that was conducted in California.
The researchers analyzed responses from 22,343 adults aged 50 years.
CRC test use was defined as receipt of a fecal occult blood test in the past year and/or receipt of an endoscopic examination in the past 5 years.
Nearly 54% of Californian adults reported receipt of a recent CRC test.
Insurance coverage and having a usual source of care were the most important predictors of CRC testing.
|Women were more likely than men to say that their physician did not inform them the test was needed|
The researchers found that Latinos age < 65 years were less likely to be tested than whites.
In addition, men were more likely to be tested than women, an effect that was greater among individuals age 50-64 years than among individuals aged 65 years.
Women were more likely than men to say that their physician did not inform them the test was needed and that CRC tests were painful or embarrassing.
The authors conclude that healthcare policies to encourage continuity of care and promote insurance coverage as well as physician and patient education programs on CRC screening guidelines and rationale would improve access to CRC tests.