Effect of a Patient Decision Aid on Preferences for Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Older Adults: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Netw Open. 2022 Dec 1;5(12):e2244982. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.44982.


Importance: Guidelines recommend individualized decision-making for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening among adults aged 76 to 84 years, a process that includes a consideration of health state and patient preference.

Objective: To determine whether a targeted patient decision aid would align older adults' screening preference with their potential to benefit from CRC screening.

Design, setting, and participants: This is a prespecified secondary analysis from a randomized clinical trial. Participants aged 70 to 84 years who were not up to date with screening and had an appointment within 6 weeks were purposively sampled by health state (poor, intermediate, or good) at 14 community-based primary care practices and block randomized to receive the intervention or control. Patients were recruited from March 1, 2012, to February 28, 2015, and these secondary analyses were performed from January 15 to March 1, 2022.

Interventions: Patient decision aid targeted to age and sex.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome of this analysis was patient preference for CRC screening. The a priori hypothesis was that the decision aid (intervention) group would reduce the proportion preferring screening among those in poor and intermediate health compared with the control group.

Results: Among the 424 participants, the mean (SD) age was 76.8 (4.2) years; 248 (58.5%) of participants were women; and 333 (78.5%) were White. The proportion preferring screening in the intervention group was less than in the control group for those in the intermediate health state (34 of 76 [44.7%] vs 40 of 73 [54.8%]; absolute difference, -10.1% [95% CI, -26.0% to 5.9%]) and in the poor health state (24 of 62 [38.7%] vs 33 of 61 [54.1%]; absolute difference, -15.4% [95% CI, -32.8% to 2.0%]). These differences were not statistically significant. The proportion of those in good health who preferred screening was similar between the intervention and control groups (44 of 74 [59.5%] for intervention vs 46 of 75 [61.3%] for control; absolute difference, -1.9% [95% CI, -17.6% to 13.8%]).

Conclusions and relevance: The findings of this secondary analysis of a clinical trial did not demonstrate statistically significant differences in patient preferences between the health groups. Additional studies that are appropriately powered are needed to determine the effect of the decision aid on the preferences of older patients for CRC screening by health state.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01575990.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Patient Preference

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01575990