Colorectal cancer screening among the medically underserved

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2006 Feb;17(1):47-54. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2006.0037.


Prevalence of physician recommendation and patient completion of colorectal cancer screening was investigated among Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) serving low-income neighborhoods in Chicago. Medical records of 3,416 patients receiving primary care services at 1 of 31 FQHCs were randomly chosen for review. In all, 642 patients were identified by age and family history as eligible for colorectal cancer screening and included in this study. Patient demographic information and colorectal cancer screening history were collected. The physician screening recommendation rate was 9.2% (n=59); 7.0% (n=45) of patients were determined to have been appropriately screened for colorectal cancer, primarily by Fecal Occult Blood Test (94.1%, n=43). Among patients who received a recommendation from their physician, 76.2% had completed a screening test. Older patients were more likely than their younger counterparts to have received a recommendation from their physician (p<.05) and to have been screened (p<.01). Organizational interventions are needed to support physicians in medically underserved areas and to promote recommended screening practices.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chicago
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Referral and Consultation*