Preferences for colorectal cancer screening tests and screening test use in a large multispecialty primary care practice

Sarah T. Hawley, Amy McQueen, L. Kay Bartholomew, Anthony J. Greisinger, Sharon P. Coan, Ronald Myers, Sally W. Vernon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) screening test preference and examine the association between test preference and test completed. METHODS: Patients (n = 1224) were 50-70 years, at average CRC risk, and overdue for screening. Outcome variables were preference for fecal occult blood test (FOBT), colonoscopy (COL), sigmoidoscopy (SIG), or barium enema (BE), measured by telephone survey, and concordance between test preference and test completed assessed using medical records. RESULTS: Thirty-five percent preferred FOBT, 41.1% COL, 12.7% SIG, and 5.7% BE. Preference for SIG or COL was associated with having a physician recommendation, greater screening readiness, test-specific self-efficacy, greater CRC worry, and perceived pros of screening. Preference for FOBT was associated with self-efficacy for doing FOBT. Participants who preferred COL were more likely to complete COL compared with those who preferred another test. Of those screened, only 50% received their preferred test. Those not receiving their preferred test most often received COL (52%). CONCLUSIONS: Lack of concordance between patient preference and test completed suggests that patients' preferences are not well incorporated into screening discussions and test decisions, which could contribute to low screening uptake. Physicians should acknowledge patients' preferences when discussing test options and making recommendations, which may increase patients' receptivity to screening. Cancer 2011.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2726-2734
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2012


  • colorectal cancer
  • decision making
  • patient education
  • screening


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