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Physician Counseling on Colorectal Cancer Screening and Receipt of Screening among Latino Patients


BACKGROUND: Latinos have lower rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and later stage diagnosis than Whites, which may be partially explained by physician communication factors. OBJECTIVE: We assessed associations between patient-reported physician counseling regarding CRC screening and receipt of CRC screening among Latino primary care patients. DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional telephone survey. PARTICIPANTS: The participants of this study were Latino primary care patients 50 years of age or older, with one or more visits during the preceding year. MAIN MEASURES: We developed patient-reported measures to assess whether physicians provided explanations of CRC risks and tests, elicited patients’ barriers to CRC screening, were responsive to patients’ concerns about screening, and encouraged patients to be screened. Outcomes were patient reports of receipt of endoscopy (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within recommended guidelines. KEY RESULTS: Of 817 eligible patients contacted, 505 (62 %) completed the survey; mean age was 61 years (SD 8.4), 69 % were women, and 53 % had less than high school education. Forty-six percent reported obtaining endoscopy (with or without FOBT), 13 % reported FOBT only, and 41 % reported no CRC screening. In bivariate analyses, physician explanations, elicitation of barriers, responsiveness to concerns, and greater encouragement for screening were associated with receipt of endoscopy (p < 0.001), and explanations (p < 0.05) and encouragement (p < 0.001) were associated with FOBT. Adjusting for covariates, physician explanations (OR = 1.27; 95 % CI 1.03, 1.58) and greater physician encouragement (OR = 6.74; 95 % CI 3.57, 12.72) were associated with endoscopy; patients reporting quite a bit/a lot of physician encouragement had six times higher odds of obtaining the FOBT as those reporting none/a little encouragement (OR = 6.54; 95 % CI 2.76, 15.48). CONCLUSIONS: Among primarily lower-socioeconomic status Latino patients, the degree to which patients perceived that physicians encouraged CRC screening was more strongly associated with screening than with providing risk information, eliciting barriers, and responding to their concerns about screening.

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