Journal of Community Health

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 517–524 | Cite as

Colorectal Cancer Screening Adherence in African–American Men and Women 50 Years of Age and Older Living in Maryland

  • Richard C. Palmer
  • Dildeep Chhabra
  • Sheila McKinney
original paper


African Americans experience disproportionate incidence and mortality rates from colorectal cancer (CRC). This health disparity is partially explained by low participation in screening. This study aimed to identify factors influencing adherence to colorectal cancer screening among African Americans. Telephone interviews were conducted with African Americans living in Maryland (57% response rate). A total of 504 respondents agreed to participate. The survey primarily assessed participation in CRC screening, health beliefs and attitudes about CRC screening, and demographics. Nearly 77% of respondents reported being adherent to CRC screening guidelines. Of those not adherent, nearly 50% reported not ever receiving a physician recommendation to be screened. Having health insurance was a strong correlate of adherence. Study participants with greater perceived CRC risk were more likely to be adherent. Further, those who reported that they were caregivers were less likely to be adherent to screening. Findings indicate that those who were the primary care takers of children or disabled persons were less likely to participate in CRC screening. Efforts are needed to ensure that caregivers do not neglect their own preventive health, including CRC screening. Further, access to care and health insurance coverage also appear to be an important factor for participation in CRC screening. Ensuring that those who do not have adequate healthcare coverage are not excluded from participation in CRC screening due to cost should be an important priority if reduction in CRC health disparity is to be achieved.


Cancer screening Colorectal cancer African American Caregiver 



This research was sponsored by grants R03CA124215 and K22CA126979 from the National Cancer Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard C. Palmer
    • 1
  • Dildeep Chhabra
    • 1
  • Sheila McKinney
    • 1
  1. 1.Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social WorkMiamiUSA

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