Inequitable access to surveillance colonoscopy among Medicare beneficiaries with surgically resected colorectal cancer

Cancer. 2021 Feb 1;127(3):412-421. doi: 10.1002/cncr.33262. Epub 2020 Oct 23.


Background: After colorectal cancer (CRC) surgery, surveillance with colonoscopy is an important step for the early detection of local recurrence. Unfortunately, surveillance colonoscopy is underused, especially among racial/ethnic minorities. This study assesses the association between patient and neighborhood factors and receipt of surveillance colonoscopy.

Methods: This retrospective, population-based cohort study used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked data (2009-2014). Beneficiaries with surgically resected stage II or III CRC between the ages of 66 and 85 years were identified, and multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the effect of factors on receipt of colonoscopy.

Results: Overall, 57.5% of the patients received initial surveillance colonoscopy. After adjustments for all factors, Blacks and Hispanics had lower odds of receiving colonoscopy than non-Hispanic Whites (NHWs; 29.6% for Blacks; P = .002; 12.9% for Hispanics; P > .05). NHWs with Medicaid coverage had 35% lower odds of surveillance colonoscopy than NHWs without Medicaid coverage. Minority patients with Medicaid were more likely to receive colonoscopy than their racial/ethnic counterparts without Medicaid coverage (P > .05). Hispanics residing in neighborhoods with incomes of ≥$90,000 had significantly lower odds of surveillance colonoscopy than Hispanics residing in neighborhoods with incomes of $0 to $30,000.

Conclusions: Receipt of initial surveillance colonoscopy remains low, and there are acute disparities between Black and NHW patients. The association between factors that assess a patient's ability to access colonoscopy and actual receipt of colonoscopy suggests inequitable access to surveillance colonoscopy within and across racial/ethnic groups.

Keywords: cancer health disparities; colorectal cancer; surveillance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black or African American
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medicare*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States