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Cancer Control. 2007 Apr;14(2):167-75.

Physician and staff perceptions of barriers to colorectal cancer screening in Appalachian Kentucky.

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  • 1Human Cancer Genetics Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



Data indicate that in 1997 to 1999, only 44% of Appalachian Kentuckians underwent colorectal cancer screening consistent with guidelines. We investigated the reasons for, barriers to, and follow-up of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening recommendations in primary care practices seeing patients from Appalachian Kentucky.


A mixed-methods [qualitative (focus group) and quantitative (survey)] approach was used to gather and analyze data in five primary care practices. A total of 34 participated in the focus groups.


In focus groups, physicians and office staff reported a number of indicators for CRC screening; physician, patient, and procedural barriers to CRC screening; and strategies to overcome these barriers to screening. Most physicians used personal experience to guide screening, but it was unclear what was meant by personal experience. Commonly cited patient barriers to screening were fear and embarrassment. Physicians reported several approaches to overcome these barriers, including establishing trust and educating patients. Survey data identified a number of resources to assist practices in promoting screening, most commonly, patient educational materials. Finally, fecal occult blood test was most commonly recommended because it is inexpensive and easy to administer.


Our mixed methods approach not only helped to understand the physicians' perceptions of the problems and barriers to CRC screening in Appalachian Kentucky, but also elucidated how practices endeavor to overcome these barriers and identified the additional resources practices would like in order to promote CRC screening.

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