, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 269-276
Date: 18 Feb 2012

Effect of Comorbid Conditions on Adherence to Colorectal Cancer Screening

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Abstract

Potential barriers to colorectal cancer (CRC) screening include preexisting medical conditions (comorbidities), physician recommendation, psychosocial factors, and screening preparedness. This study's purpose was to investigate the impact of comorbid conditions on CRC screening among African Americans. A stage-matched randomized clinical trial was performed. Asymptomatic African Americans over age 50, with a primary care physician, and eligible for CRC screening were recruited at The Mount Sinai Hospital from 2005 to 2008. One hundred sixty-one patients were assessed for referral for, and completion of, CRC screening, comorbid conditions, “readiness to change,” and number of physician visits within the observation period. Data was compared to a pretrial index to predict the likely effect of comorbid conditions on CRC screening. One hundred fifty-nine patients completed the study; 108 (68.9%) were referred for and 34 (21.2%) completed CRC screening. No demographic characteristics were associated with CRC screening completion. CRC screening referrals were similar for all patients, regardless of comorbidities or clinical visits. Comorbidities rated as having extreme influence on CRC screening showed a trend toward lower screening rates. There was a significant increase in screening rates among participants in advanced stages of readiness at enrollment. These data suggest that while comorbidities did not predict colonoscopy completion, they may play a role in concert with other factors. This is the only study to assess the effect of screening colonoscopy in an African American primary care setting. We must continue to explore interventions to narrow the disparate gap in screening and mortality rates.