Race and gender differences in awareness of colorectal cancer screening tests and guidelines among recently diagnosed colon cancer patients in an urban setting
Carnahan LR, Jones L, Brewer KC, Watts EA, Peterson CE, Ferrans CE, Cipriano-Steffens T, Polite B, Maker AV, Chowdhery R, Molina Y, Rauscher GH. Race and Gender Differences in Awareness of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests and Guidelines Among Recently Diagnosed Colon Cancer Patients in an Urban Setting. J Cancer Educ. 2021 Jun;36(3):567-575. doi: 10.1007/s13187-019-01666-4. PMID: 31838729; PMCID: PMC7293559
The purpose of this study was to first characterize the prevalence of recall, recognition, and knowledge of colon cancer screening tests and guidelines (collectively, "awareness") among non-Hispanic black (NHB) and NH white (NHW) urban colon cancer patients. Second, we sought to examine whether awareness was associated with mode of cancer detection. Low awareness regarding colon cancer screening tests and guidelines may explain low screening rates and high prevalence of symptomatic detection. We examined recall, recognition, and knowledge of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening tests and guidelines and their associations with mode of cancer detection (symptomatic versus screen-detected) in 374 newly diagnosed NHB and NHW patients aged 45-79. Patients were asked to name or describe any test to screen for colon cancer (recall); next, they were given descriptions of stool testing and colonoscopy and asked if they recognized each test (recognition). Lastly, patients were asked if they knew the screening guidelines (knowledge). Overall, awareness of CRC screening guidelines was low; just 20% and 13% of patients knew colonoscopy and fecal test guidelines, respectively. Awareness of CRC screening tests and guidelines was especially low among NHB males, socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals, and those diagnosed at public healthcare facilities. Inability to name or recall a single test was associated with reduced screen-detected cancer compared with recall of at least one test (36% vs. 22%, p = 0.01). Low awareness of CRC screening tests is a risk factor for symptomatic detection of colon cancer.