Use of colon cancer testing in rural Colorado primary care practices

J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Oct;24(10):1095-100. doi: 10.1007/s11606-009-1063-0. Epub 2009 Aug 27.


Background: People living in rural areas may be less likely to be up to date (UTD) with screening guidelines for colorectal cancer (CRC).

Objectives: To determine (1) rates of being UTD with screening or ever having had a test for CRC and (2) correlates for testing among patients living in a rural area who visit a provider.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Participants: Five hundred seventy patients aged 50 years and older who visited their health-care provider in High Plains Research Network (HPRN) practices.

Measurements: (1) Ever having had a CRC screening test, (2) being UTD with CRC screening, and (3) intention to get tested.

Results: The survey completion rate was 65%; 71% of patients had ever had any CRC screening test, while 52% of patients were UTD. Correlates of intending to get tested included having a family history of CRC, having a doctor recommend a test, knowing somebody who got tested, and believing that testing for CRC gives one a feeling of being in control of their health. Of those who had never had a CRC screening test, 12% planned on getting tested in the future, while 55% of those who were already up to date intended to be tested again (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Prevalence of being UTD with CRC testing in the HPRN was on par with statewide CRC testing rates, but over three quarters of patients who had not yet been screened had no intention of getting tested for CRC, despite having a medical home.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population*