Colorectal Cancer Screening among a Sample of Community Health Center Attendees

To determine the rate of colorectal cancer screening in patients attending a sample of community health centers, medical records of 1,176 patients from eight community health centers were abstracted. Among the patients studied, 43.8% of patients had undergone at least one of the three colorectal screening tests (fecal occult blood test, colonoscopy, or flexible sigmoidoscopy) in the recommended interval. Colorectal screening in this community health center population was predicted by male gender, being African American, older age, having a greater number of chronic illnesses, a family history of colorectal cancer, and by having engaged in other preventive cancer screenings in the previous year. Although screening rates certainly were not optimal, they compare favorably to rates reported in national surveys for the general population. Our results add to a growing body of evidence that community health centers, despite serving disadvantaged populations, are able to deliver preventive care at rates comparable to health facilities used by the general population.