Background: National guidelines recommending colorectal cancer (CRC) screening for average risk Canadians were released in 2001. The current study determined rates of CRC screening and predictors of screening 3 yr after the guidelines were released.
Method: A population-based random digit dial telephone survey of 1,808 Alberta men and women aged 50-74 yr assessed awareness about, and self-reported rates of, screening.
Results: More average risk women than men reported a recent screening with a home fecal occult blood test (FOBT) (14.0%vs 9.8%, P= 0.013) but men had slightly higher rates of screening endoscopy in the past 5 yr (4.3%vs 1.6%, P= 0.003). Overall, only 14.3% of average risk adults (N = 1,476) were up-to-date on CRC screening. Multivariable predictors of being up-to-date on CRC screening differed for men and women although a doctor's recommendation for screening was a strong predictor for both genders (men OR 5.0, 2.9-8.3, women OR 3.8, 2.3-6.5). Screening for other cancers was also an important predictor in both men and women.
Conclusion: Three years after the release of national guidelines, rates of screening among average risk adults aged 50-74 yr were very low. Public education programs and primary care interventions to specifically invite average risk adults for screening may be required to increase CRC screening rates.