Colorectal cancer screening among African-American and white male veterans

Am J Prev Med. 2005 Jun;28(5):479-82. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2005.02.002.


Background: Population-based studies from Medicare and privately insured individuals have consistently identified lower rates of colorectal cancer-screening tests among African-American versus white individuals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether, at a Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center, similar racial/ethnic differences in colorectal cancer screening could be identified.

Methods: Study participants were male veterans, aged > or =50, attending a general medicine clinic in a VA hospital, who had not had either a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the past year or a flexible sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy within the past 5 years. Based on review of electronic medical records, rates of physician recommendation for FOBT, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy, and patient completion of these tests were obtained and compared by race/ethnicity.

Results: Sixty percent of 1599 veterans had not undergone recent colorectal cancer screening. Physicians recommended colorectal screening tests equally among African-American and white patients (71.0% vs 68.2%, p=0.44). African-American patients were 1.3 times more likely than white patients to receive colorectal screening procedures (36.3% vs 28.9%, p=0.03).

Conclusions: In contrast to other settings, in a general medicine clinic at a VA hospital, rates of colorectal cancer-screening tests were not lower for African-American patients compared to white patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American*
  • Chicago
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Veterans*
  • White People*