Purpose Gender-based psychosocial factors appear to influence colorectal cancer (CRC) screening adherence. Given its near universal acceptance by the public, screening mammography represents a potential “teachable moment” for educating patients about the risk of CRC. Accordingly, to better understand screening behaviors among women, data from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) were analyzed to identify potential relationships that would allow interventions to enhance CRC screening.
Methods Women 50 years and older who participated in the BRFSS 2001 survey were included in the analysis. CRC, breast and cervical cancer screening adherence with American Cancer Society guidelines was determined. Breast and cervical cancer screening adherence and general health and demographic characteristics were used as predictors of CRC screening adherence.
Results After adjusting for sociodemographic factors in a multivariate analysis, women 60-69 years old (adjusted OR 1.50, p<0.01) and 70-79 years old (adjusted OR 1.39, p<0.01), having achieved at least some high school (adjusted OR 1.62, p<0.01) or college (adjusted OR 2.11, p<0.01) education, having health coverage (adjusted OR 1.67, p<0.01) or a personal physician (adjusted OR 1.60, p<0.01), and adherence to screening mammography (adjusted OR 2.42, p<0.01) and Pap smear (adjusted OR 1.70, p<0.01) independently increased the likelihood of CRC screening adherence. Women in self-reported good general health were less likely to adhere to CRC screening guidelines (adjusted OR 0.79, p<0.01). Current smokers were also less likely to adhere to CRC screening guidelines compared to women who never smoked or formerly smoked (adjusted OR 0.76, p<0.01). Participants who adhered to both mammography and Pap smear guidelines were significantly more likely to adhere to CRC screening (51.5% CRC screening adherence) when compared to women who adhered to neither screening test (8.2% CRC screening adherence), with an adjusted OR 5.67 (p<0.001). Participants who adhered to both mammography and Pap smear guidelines were significantly more likely to adhere to CRC screening compared to women who adhered to either screening test (38.0% CRC screening adherence) with an adjusted OR 1.94 (p<0.001).
Conclusions Women with up-to-date mammography and cervical cancer screening were more likely to be up-to-date with CRC screening. Regardless of the increased association between non-CRC-related cancer screening and CRC screening, rates of CRC screening utilization remained low in these otherwise compliant populations.