Journal of Community Health

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 1141–1147 | Cite as

Assessing Colorectal Cancer Knowledge Among Puerto Rican Hispanics: Implications for Cancer Prevention and Control

  • Reinaldo Ramírez-Amill
  • Marievelisse Soto-Salgado
  • Carla Vázquez-Santos
  • Mónica Corzo-Pedrosa
  • Marcia Cruz-Correa
Original Paper


In Puerto Rico, colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality rates are increasing. Moreover, adherence rates to CRC screening (52.2%) are still below the goals (70.5%) established by Healthy People 2020. Lack of knowledge is described as a significant barrier to adherence to CRC screening. The aim of this study was to assess CRC knowledge and screening rates among Puerto Rican Hispanics. Participants aged 40–85 years were recruited from the internal medicine outpatient clinics at the University of Puerto Rico. Demographic characteristics and knowledge about CRC, including risk factors and CRC screening tests, were obtained through face-to-face interviews. A mean CRC knowledge score was calculated based on correct responses to 13 validated questions. Mean knowledge scores were evaluated according to demographic characteristics using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test. A total of 101 participants were recruited with mean age of 63 (±10.6) years. Fifty-eight (58%) of participants were females, 59% reported ≥12 years of education, and 71% reported ever screening for CRC. The mean CRC knowledge score was significantly lower (p < 0.05) among participants with lower annual family income, those who had never received a recommendation for CRC screening by a healthcare provider, and those who had no history of CRC screening. Knowledge about CRC must be improved in Puerto Rico. Efforts must be made to promote and develop culturally appropriate CRC educational strategies. Future studies should focus on identifying other barriers and factors that may limit CRC screening in the Puerto Rican Hispanic population.


Colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer screening Cancer health disparities Hispanics 



The project described was supported by Award Number 2U54MD007587 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinaldo Ramírez-Amill
    • 1
  • Marievelisse Soto-Salgado
    • 2
  • Carla Vázquez-Santos
    • 1
  • Mónica Corzo-Pedrosa
    • 1
  • Marcia Cruz-Correa
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences CampusSan JuanUSA
  2. 2.University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences CampusSan JuanUSA
  3. 3.Division of Cancer BiologyUniversity of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer CenterSan JuanUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Surgery and Biochemistry, School of MedicineUniversity or Puerto Rico Medical Sciences CampusSan JuanUSA
  5. 5.University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and Comprehensive Cancer CenterSan JuanUSA

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