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Can J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jun;19(6):343-9.

Predictors of colorectal cancer screening: a comparison of men and women.

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Alberta Cancer Board, Calgary, Canada.



New Canadian guidelines recommend screening average-risk adults to reduce mortality from colorectal cancer, the second most common cause of cancer death among Canadians. The present study examined the self-reported prevalence of colorectal cancer testing and sex-specific predictors of having had a fecal occult blood (FOB) test for screening, among a cohort of Alberta residents aged 50 to 69 years.


Subjects (n=5009) enrolled in a geographically based cohort study completed a Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire between October 2000 and June 2002 that ascertained their colorectal cancer detection practices, as well as demographic and other health and lifestyle characteristics.


Patterns of FOB testing, and sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, were similar for men and women. The majority of subjects (83.3%) reported no first-degree family history of colorectal cancer or bowel conditions, and they were considered to be at average risk. Few average-risk subjects reported having a screening FOB test within the past two years (7.7% [95% CI 6.7% to 8.7%] of subjects aged 50 to 59 years and 12.5% [95% CI 10.9% to 14.3%] of subjects aged 60 to 69 years). In men, the strongest predictors of having a screening FOB test in the past two years were a recent history of prostate-specific antigen testing and educational attainment. Among women, the strongest predictors were a recent history of having had a Pap test, a recent mammogram, employment status and educational attainment.


Screening for colorectal cancer in average-risk adults was infrequent in this sample and lagged behind screening for other cancers. Screening of average-risk adults occurred primarily in people already accessing the health care system, suggesting that public education programs will be required to increase screening rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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