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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Understanding Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer diagnoses among young adults are on the rise, despite the fact that screening is effective in reducing colorectal cancer incidence and mortality. A team of investigators from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health sought to understand barriers to colorectal cancer screening guideline adherence among adults in Appalachian Kentucky, a region hard-hit by cancer. Their findings appear in Health Communication.

Utilizing data from 40 in-depth interviews, investigators identified both barriers and facilitators to colorectal screening guideline adherence among Appalachian Kentucky adults recruited through a community-based research network. Key findings identify (a) varying levels of knowledge about screening guidelines, (b) reticence to engage in screening processes, and (c) nuanced communication with healthcare providers and family members regarding screening adherence.

What participants knew about the screening process was often derived from personal stories or recalled stories from family members about their screening experiences. Reticence to engage in screening processes reflected reports of cumbersome preparation, privacy issues, embarrassment, medical mistrust, fear of receiving a cancer diagnosis, and lack of symptoms.

Participants cited many ways to enhance patient-centered communication, and the findings from this study have implications for health communication message design and communication strategies for healthcare practices in Appalachian Kentucky clinics.

Investigators include Mr. Tom Collins, associate director of the Rural Cancer Prevention Center (RCPC) at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health; Dr. Richard Crosby, RCPC director and endowed professor of health, behavior & society; and Dr. Robin Vanderpool, director of the Appalachian Center for Cancer Education, Screening, and Support and associate professor of Health, Behavior & Society (ACCESS).

[Photo: Mr. Tom Collins]

[Photo: Dr. Richard Crosby]

[Photo: Dr. Robin Vanderpool]