An examination of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in the awareness, knowledge and utilization of three colorectal cancer screening modalities

Xuan Zhu, Philip D. Parks, Emily Weiser, Joan M. Griffin, Paul J. Limburg, Lila J. Finney Rutten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While colorectal cancer (CRC) mortality rates have been decreasing, disparities by socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity persist. CRC screening rates remain suboptimal among low SES and racial/ethnic minority populations, despite the availability of multiple screening modalities. Understanding awareness, knowledge, and utilization of common screening modalities within different racial/ethnic and SES groups is critical to inform efforts to improve population screening uptake and reduce disparities in CRC-related health outcomes. Through the theoretical lenses of diffusion of innovation and fundamental cause theory, we examined the associations of race/ethnicity and SES with awareness, knowledge, and utilization of three guideline recommended CRC screening strategies among individuals at average risk for CRC. Data were obtained from a survey of a nationally representative panel of US adults conducted in November 2019. The survey was completed by 31.3% of invited panelists (1595 of 5097). Analyses were focused on individuals at average risk for CRC, aged 45–75 for awareness and knowledge outcomes (n = 1062) and aged 50–75 for utilization outcomes (n = 858). Analyses revealed racial/ethnic and SES disparities among the three CRC screening modalities, with more racial/ethnic and SES differences observed in the awareness, knowledge, and utilization of screening colonoscopy and mt-sDNA than FIT/gFOBT. Patterns of disparities are consistent with previous research showing that inequities in social and economic resources are associated with an imbalanced adoption of medical innovations. Our findings demonstrate a need to increase awareness, knowledge, and access of various CRC screening modalities in specific populations defined by race/ethnicity or SES indicators. Efforts to increase CRC screening should be tailored to the needs and social-cultural context of populations. Interventions addressing inequalities in social and economic resources are also needed to achieve more equitable adoption of CRC screening modalities and reduce disparities in CRC-related health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100780
JournalSSM - Population Health
Volume14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Diffusion of innovation
  • Fundamental cause theory
  • Health disparities
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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