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Cancer Causes Control. 2008 Dec;19(10):1031-41. doi: 10.1007/s10552-008-9167-0. Epub 2008 May 14.

Colorectal cancer screening awareness and intentions among low income, sociodemographically diverse adults under age 50.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Community-Based Research, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates in the US are suboptimal, particularly among lower income and racial/ethnically diverse groups. If specific populations have limited awareness of screening when they reach age 50, there may be delays in screening adoption. This study investigated sociodemographic and social contextual factors associated with awareness of CRC and intentions to be screened at age 50 among 692 low income, racial, and ethnic minority adults living in low income housing. The majority of respondents (62%) were between ages 30 and 49, and 94% had some form of health insurance (e.g., Medicaid). About 70% reported having heard about CRC screening; 66% reported intentions to be screened at age 50. In multivariable analyses, screening awareness was associated with age and education. Immigrants who had English as a second language had lower awareness. Females tended to have higher awareness if they had private insurance; there were no differences among males. Multivariable analyses found that screening intentions were higher among men, those with more role responsibilities, more role conflicts, and higher levels of social cohesion. It is important to identify opportunities for maximizing screening uptake among those who become age-eligible for screening if we are to make a significant impact on CRC disparities.

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