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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016 Oct;25(10):990-995.

Opportunities to Expand Colorectal Cancer Screening Participation.

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1 Soltera Center for Cancer Prevention and Control , Tucson, Arizona.
2 Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Atlanta, Georgia .


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign has operated continuously since 1999 to promote colorectal cancer screening. The campaign's most recent formative research cycle was conducted in 2015 and included 16 focus groups in four United States cities with adults aged 50-75 years who had not received colorectal cancer screening as recommended. The most common reason for screening nonparticipation was aversion to some aspect of colonoscopy, such as preparation, the invasive nature of the test, or the possibility of complications. Other reasons for screening nonparticipation were absence of symptoms, lack of screening awareness/provider recommendation, and lack of family history. Screening promotion messages that resonated with participants included the following: multiple screening tests are available; colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms; screening should begin at age 50; and most cases of colorectal cancer occur in individuals with no family history of the disease. Efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening participation may be supported by disseminating messages that counter common concerns about screening. Raising awareness of the range of colorectal cancer screening options may be especially critical given that many unscreened individuals were unwilling to undergo a colonoscopy.


United States; attitudes; colorectal cancer; health knowledge; prevention; screening

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