Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 859–864

Plans to Stop Cancer Screening Tests Among Adults Who Recently Considered Screening

  • Carmen L. Lewis
  • Mick P. Couper
  • Carrie A. Levin
  • Michael P. Pignone
  • Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-010-1346-5

Cite this article as:
Lewis, C.L., Couper, M.P., Levin, C.A. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2010) 25: 859. doi:10.1007/s11606-010-1346-5



We sought to estimate what proportion of adults plan to stop cancer screening tests among adults who recently considered screening and to explore factors associated with these screening plans.


Telephone Survey


A total of 1,237 participants aged 50 and older who reported having made one or more cancer screening decisions in the past 2 years completed 1,454 cancer screening modules for breast, prostate and colorectal screening.

Main Results

Of all module respondents, 9.8% reported plans to stop screening, 12.6% for breast, 6.0 % for prostate and 9.5% for colon cancer. We found no statistically significant differences in plans to stop for those ages ≥70 (8.2%) compared to those ages 50 to 69 (10.2%) (p = 0.14.) Black respondents were less likely to report plans to stop than white respondents (OR = 0.32, 95% CI 0.12, 0.87). Participation in the decision-making process was associated with plans to stop screening; those who reported they made the final decision about screening (OR 5.9, 95% CI 1.4, 24.7) or made the decision with the health care provider (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.0, 16.8) were more likely to have plans to stop screening compared to respondents who reported that their health care provider made the final decision.


Plans to stop screening were uncommon among participants who had recently faced a screening decision. Given the recent US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations limiting routine cancer screening for older adults, additional efforts to educate adults about the potential risks and benefits of screening may be warranted.


cancer screening decision making aged 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen L. Lewis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mick P. Couper
    • 3
  • Carrie A. Levin
    • 4
  • Michael P. Pignone
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical EpidemiologyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services ResearchUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Foundation for Informed Medical Decision MakingBostonUSA
  5. 5.HSR&D Center of ExcellenceVA Ann Arbor Healthcare SystemAnn ArborUSA
  6. 6.Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA