Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer. 2008 Jul 15;113(2):276-85. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23550.

Influence of family history and preventive health behaviors on colorectal cancer screening in African Americans.

Author information

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.



African Americans (AAs) have low rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. To the authors' knowledge, factors that influence their participation, especially individuals with a family history of CRC ("family history"), are not well understood.


A secondary analysis of the 2002 Maryland Cancer Survey data examined predictors of risk-appropriate, timely CRC screening ("screening") in AAs with a family history and in individuals without a family history. Predictors that were evaluated included age, sex, family history, mammogram or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, body mass index, activity, fruit/vegetable consumption, alcohol, smoking, perceived risk of cancer, education, employment, insurance, access to a healthcare provider, and healthcare provider recommendation of fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and/or sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy.


In individuals without a family history of CRC (N = 492), recommendation for FOBT (odds ratio [OR] of 11.90; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 6.84-20.71) and sigmoidoscopy/colonscopy (OR of 7.06; 95% CI, 4.11-12.14), moderate/vigorous activity (OR of 1.74; 95% CI, 1.06-2.28), and PSA screening history (OR of 2.68; 95% CI, 1.01-7.81) were found to be predictive of screening. In individuals with a family history (N = 88), recommendation for sigmoidoscopy/colonscopy (OR of 24.3; 95%, CI 5.30-111.34) and vigorous activity (OR of 5.21; 95% CI, 1.09-24.88) were found to be predictive of screening. However, family history did not predict screening when the analysis was controlled for age, education, and insurance. AAs who had a family history were less likely to screen compared with their white counterparts (N = 293) and compared with AAs who were at average risk for CRC (P < .05).


Regardless of family history, healthcare provider recommendation and activity level were important predictors of screening. Lower screening rates were observed in AAs who had a family history compared with individuals who did not. The authors believe that, for AAs who have a family history, further examination of barriers and facilitators to CRC screening within the cultural context is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center