Colorectal cancer risk perceptions and screening intentions in a minority population.
This is a 2-year follow-up to a previously reported baseline paper. We focused on a predominantly low-income African-American population from a community health center and investigated the relationships among perceptions of perceived risks for colorectal cancer (CRC), concerns about getting CRC, screening intentions, and whether participants had a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) on schedule at follow-up. Baseline absolute risk did not predict screening intentions or being on schedule (15% of sample), nor did it predict follow-up perceived absolute risk, comparative risk, or CRC concerns. Participants who expressed greater perceived absolute risk, comparative risk, and concerns at follow-up were more likely to report thinking about or definitely planning to get an FOBT within the next 2 years (49% of the sample). In addition, baseline absolute risk and whether or not a person had an FOBT on schedule at baseline did not predict being on schedule at follow-up. A significant percentage of the population (20%) were not able to state whether their CRC risk was below average, average, or above average. In addition, 44% of the population viewed their risks as lower than their peers, and 58% reported being not at all or slightly concerned about getting CRC. These results suggest that educational efforts are needed especially for low-income minority populations to enhance knowledge and accuracy of risk perceptions for CRC and interventions that explicitly manipulate risk are needed to assess to what extent risk perceptions can be modified and subsequently affect screening.
Lipkus, IM; Lyna, PR; Rimer, BK
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