Physician intention to recommend complete diagnostic evaluation in colorectal cancer screening

Ronald E. Myers, Terry Hyslop, Martha Gerrity, Neil Schlackman, Nick Hanchak, James Grana, Barbara J. Turner, David Weinberg, Walter W. Hauck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Primary care physicians (PCPs) often do not recommend complete diagnostic evaluation (CDE; i.e., diagnostic colonoscopy or the combination of flexible sigmoidoscopy and barium enema X-ray procedures) for patients with an abnormal screening fecal occult blood test (FOBT+) result. Information is needed to understand why PCPs do not recommend CDE. In the spring of 1994, a telephone survey was carried out using a random sample of 520 PCPs in Pennsylvania or New Jersey who had patients that were targeted for an FOBT screening program. Survey data were obtained from 363 (70%) PCPs on physician practice characteristics; personal background; perceptions concerning FOBT screening, CDE performance, and patient behavior; social influence related to CDE; and intention to recommend CDE for FOBT+ patients. Physician CDE intention scores were distributed as follows: low (22%), moderate (51%), and high (27%). Multivariate analyses demonstrate that physician board certification status, time in practice, belief in CDE efficacy, and belief that CDE is standard practice were positively associated with CDE intention, whereas concern about CDE-related costs was negatively associated with CDE intention. Among physicians in larger practices, perceived FOBT screening efficacy was negatively associated with CDE intention, and belief in the benefit of CDE was positively associated with outcome. There is substantial variability in CDE intention among PCPs. Physician perceptions about FOBT screening and follow-up are associated with CDE intention, are likely to influence CDE performance, and may be amenable to educational intervention. Additional research is needed to evaluate the impact of educational interventions on CDE intention and performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-593
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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