Early initiation of colorectal cancer screening in individuals with affected first-degree relatives

J Gen Intern Med. 2007 Jan;22(1):121-6. doi: 10.1007/s11606-007-0115-6.


Background: Several guidelines recommend initiating colorectal cancer screening at age 40 for individuals with affected first-degree relatives, yet little evidence exists describing how often these individuals receive screening procedures.

Objectives: To determine the proportion of individuals in whom early initiation of colorectal cancer screening might be indicated and whether screening disparities exist.

Design: Population-based Supplemental Cancer Control Module to the 2000 National Health Interview Survey.

Participants: Respondents, 5,564, aged 40 to 49 years were included within the analysis.

Measurements: Patient self-report of sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or fecal occult blood test.

Results: Overall, 279 respondents (5.4%: 95% C.I., 4.7, 6.2) reported having a first-degree relative affected with colorectal cancer. For individuals with a positive family history, 67 whites (27.9%: 95% C.I., 21.1, 34.5) and 3 African American (9.3%: 95% C.I., 1.7, 37.9) had undergone an endoscopic procedure within the previous 10 years (P-value = .03). After adjusting for age, family history, gender, educational level, insurance status, and usual source of care, whites were more likely to be current with early initiation endoscopic screening recommendations than African Americans (OR = 1.38: 95% C.I., 1.01, 1.87). Having an affected first-degree relative with colorectal cancer appeared to have a stronger impact on endoscopic screening for whites (OR = 3.21: 95% C.I., 2.31, 4.46) than for African Americans (OR = 1.05: 95% C.I., 0.15, 7.21).

Conclusions: White participants with a family history are more likely to have endoscopic procedures beginning before age 50 than African Americans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Colonoscopy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • United States / epidemiology