Facilitators and barriers to colorectal cancer screening in an outpatient setting

World J Clin Cases. 2021 Jul 26;9(21):5850-5859. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v9.i21.5850.


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Still, 1 in 3 adults aged 50 years to 75 years have not been screened for CRC. Early detection and management of precancerous or malignant lesions has been shown to improve overall mortality.

Aim: To determine the most significant facilitators and barriers to CRC screening in an outpatient clinic in rural North Carolina. The results of this study can then be used for quality improvement to increase the rate of patients ages 50 to 75 who are up to date on CRC screening.

Methods: This retrospective study examined 2428 patients aged 50 years to 75 years in an outpatient clinic. Patients were up to date on CRC screening if they had fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test in the past one year, Cologuard in the past three years, flexible sigmoidoscopy/virtual colonoscopy in the past five years, or colonoscopy in the past ten years. Data on patient socioeconomic status, comorbid conditions, and other determinants of health compliance were included as covariates.

Results: Age [odds ratio (OR) = 1.058; P = 0.017], no-show rate percent (OR= 0.962; P < 0.05), patient history of obstructive sleep apnea (OR = 1.875; P = 0.025), compliance with flu vaccinations (OR = 1.673; P < 0.05), compliance with screening mammograms (OR = 2.130; P < 0.05), and compliance with screening pap smears (OR = 2.708; P < 0.05) were important factors in determining whether a patient will receive CRC screening. Race, gender, insurance or employment status, use of blood thinners, family history of CRC, or other comorbid conditions including diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and end-stage renal disease were not found to have a statistically significant effect on patient adherence to CRC screening.

Conclusion: Patient age, history of sleep apnea, and compliance with other health maintenance tests were significant facilitators to CRC screening, while no-show rate percent was a significant barrier in our patient population. This study will be of benefit to physicians in addressing and improving the CRC screening rates in our community.

Keywords: Colonoscopy; Colorectal cancer; Colorectal cancer screening; Health maintenance; Patient adherence; Screening colonoscopy.