Barriers to colorectal cancer screening: an educational diagnosis

J Cancer Educ. 2004 Fall;19(3):170-3. doi: 10.1207/s15430154jce1903_12.


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a largely preventable disease through early detection and treatment, yet screening rates remain low and mortality rates remain high, particularly among low-income, minority populations. This study was conducted to identify barriers to CRC screening.

Methods: Repeated telephone contacts were conducted with 226 individuals from 52 to 80 years of age, who had not recently received CRC screening. The contacts were intended to educate and encourage participants to obtain CRC screening. Within this context, CRC screening barriers were identified and categorized using an educational diagnosis as specified in the Precede-Proceed Framework.

Results: Findings showed that the most frequently observed barrier was lack of familiarity with CRC screening guidelines and tests. Availability and accessibility to screening tests was a barrier that was difficult to overcome for many participants. The majority of participants faced two or more barriers.

Conclusions: This study suggests a need for public health education about CRC screening guidelines and tests and greater accessibility to CRC screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups*
  • New York City
  • Poverty
  • Telephone