The impact of socioeconomic status on perceived barriers to colorectal cancer testing

Am J Health Promot. Nov-Dec 2008;23(2):97-100. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.07041938.


Purpose: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is effective, but only one-half of age-eligible adults adhere to national guidelines. Lower socioeconomic status (SES) groups are less likely to be screened.

Methods: Baseline data from a prospective study were, used to examine the associations among CRC screening screening barriers, and SES. A convenience sample of adults (N = 291) aged 40 years and older was recruited from a federally qualified health center. Questionnaires were administered orally and included demographics, health, health behavior, and screening barriers.

Results: In logistic regression, having health insurance was associated with greater odds of screening Bivariate analyses detected few differences in fecal occult blood test (FOBT) barriers, but several endoscopy barriers were more common among the lowest SES groups. For example, fear of injury from endoscopy was more likely among low-income and uninsured participants.

Discussion: The impact of SES on cancer screening is complex, but low-SES participants more often reported certain barriers than their higher-SES counterparts. This was more evident for endoscopy than for FOBT. Programs targeted at low-SES patients may need to focus on barriers that are not fully addressed in traditional promotion efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / economics*
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Poverty
  • Prospective Studies
  • Social Perception*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires