Barriers and facilitators to adherence to screening colonoscopy among African-Americans: a mixed-methods analysis

J Cancer Educ. 2013 Dec;28(4):722-8. doi: 10.1007/s13187-013-0510-0.


This mixed-methods study reports barriers and facilitators to screening colonoscopy among inner-city African-Americans. A purposive sample of 29 African-Americans ≥ 50 years old with average risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) was recruited from CRC education programs in an urban setting (June 2011-April 2012). A demographic survey collected quantitative data (e.g., socioeconomic status), and a semi-structured interview assessed qualitative data (e.g., perspectives of colonoscopies). Sample and between-group analyses were conducted using descriptive statistics and content analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, respectively. The sample consisted of 17 people who completed a colonoscopy and 12 who had not. Mean age was 68 years; 79 % completed at least high school, and all had health care coverage and had visited a physician within the last year. Physician recommendation was prevalent among both groups (15/17 in completers vs. 8/12 in non-completers) and thus did not fully explain the differences in adherence. The greatest barrier for the non-colonoscopy group was lack of knowledge about the importance of screening while the commonest facilitator for the colonoscopy group was physician recommendation. Improved knowledge about colonoscopies is a significant facilitator to adherence, while physician recommendation was not significantly different between groups. Promotion of screening colonoscopies by both physicians and community programs has the potential to improve adherence rates in the African-American population.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Referral and Consultation