The influence of physicians on colorectal cancer screening behavior

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Dec;22(12):1659-68. doi: 10.1007/s10552-011-9842-4. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Background: Our aims were to determine clinical factors associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and to evaluate the relative role of patient contact with physicians and the quality of these patient-physician interactions in affecting screening.

Methods: Screening-eligible patients were identified from the Health Information National Trends Survey. Determinants of CRC screening were assessed with logistic regression, and a joint effects model that considered the frequency and quality of contact with physicians was developed to explore their influence on screening.

Results: There were 4,615 respondents of whom only 66% reported receiving CRC screening. Older age, personal history of non-CRC, family history of any cancer, high-income earners, individuals who visited their physicians ≥5 times per year, and those who rated the interactions with their physicians highly were more likely to be screened (all p < 0.05). The joint effects model revealed that quality rather than frequency of physician contact was a stronger predictor of CRC screening, but the odds of screening was highest for those who experienced both frequent and high-quality interactions with their physicians.

Conclusions: Contact with physicians and the quality of this interaction are associated with screening behavior. Interventions to improve these provider-related factors may promote CRC screening.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*