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Prev Med. 2003 Jan;36(1):85-91.

Correlates of underutilization of colorectal cancer screening among U.S. adults, age 50 years and older.

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National Home Office, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA.



Although effective screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) exists, only 37% of incident CRC are diagnosed at a localized stage at which treatment is effective. We identified demographic and other characteristics of adults (> or = 50 years old) who reported no CRC screening.


We calculated the prevalence of never having had a fecal occult blood test and/or a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy by age, sex, and other factors using the 1999 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.


CRC screening tests were underutilized across all segments of the population. Underutilization was highest in persons aged 50-64 years and those with lower education and a lack of health insurance and preventive services.


The data indicate that large proportions of average-risk adults across various sociodemographics and behavioral factors are not utilizing recommended CRC screening tests. There is a need to increase the awareness of the importance of utilizing effective CRC screening tests for the early detection of colorectal cancers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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