Different effects of multiple health status indicators on breast and colorectal cancer screening in a nationally representative US sample

Cancer Epidemiol. 2012 Jun;36(3):270-5. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2011.10.001. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


Objective: To examine the independent associations between multiple health status indicators and breast and colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) in a national US sample.

Study design and setting: Analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) involved 5115 men and 7100 women aged 50 years and older.

Measures: Health status indicators included: self-reported perceived health status, number of chronic conditions, and functional limitation due to a chronic condition. Individuals were considered adherent to CRCS guidelines if they reported having a home-based fecal occult blood test in the past year or endoscopy in the past 10 years. Women were adherent to breast cancer screening guidelines if they reported having a mammogram in the previous 2 years. Statistical analyses were conducted using SUDAAN software to account for the complex sampling of the NHIS survey. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between each of the health status indicators and screening adherence for CRCS and mammography and to calculate estimated screening rates.

Results: The three health status indicators were independently and differentially associated with screening adherence. Poor perceived health was associated with lower mammography among women, whereas a greater number of chronic conditions were consistently associated with greater screening. In adjusted analyses, functional limitation was only significantly associated with greater CRCS among women.

Conclusions: Our analyses included three common indicators of health status and provide new evidence of their complex associations with cancer screening. Future studies must examine the mechanisms by which these indicators influence screening recommendations and adherence among older adults over time.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology