Background: Population-based studies from Medicare and privately insured individuals have consistently identified lower rates of colorectal cancer-screening tests among African-American versus white individuals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether, at a Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center, similar racial/ethnic differences in colorectal cancer screening could be identified. Methods: Study participants were male veterans, aged <50, attending a general medicine clinic in a VA hospital, who had not had either a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the past year or a flexible sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy within the past 5 years. Based on review of electronic medical records, rates of physician recommendation for FOBT, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy, and patient completion of these tests were obtained and compared by race/ethnicity. Results: Sixty percent of 1599 veterans had not undergone recent colorectal cancer screening. Physicians recommended colorectal screening tests equally among African-American and white patients (71.0% vs 68.2%, p=0.44). African-American patients were 1.3 times more likely than white patients to receive colorectal screening procedures (36.3% vs 28.9%, p=0.03). Conclusions: In contrast to other settings, in a general medicine clinic at a VA hospital, rates of colorectal cancer-screening tests were not lower for African-American patients compared to white patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health