This study examined the attitudes held by both African Americans and Caucasians regarding colorectal cancer screening and the reasons why they avoid screenings even when clinically indicated by their physicians. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common and easily preventable types of cancer in the United States. If diagnosed and treated early prior to metastasis, the five-year colorectal cancer survival rate is approximately 90%. However, many patients avoid screening procedures for colorectal cancer due to a number of reasons. Qualitative data was gathered from focus groups and found four major themes that emerged in both groups: (1) reported barriers to screening, (2) level of knowledge about CRC, (3) knowledge of risk factors for CRC, and (4) suggested strategies for improving CRC screening. African Americans and Caucasians reported differential concerns for each of those themes, including on physician vs. access issues (barriers), environmental vs. hereditary diseases (risk factors), community vs. physician-based interventions (strategies), and substantial differences with regard to CRC knowledge.


colorectal cancer, screening, health promotion, prevention, focus group

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Peter Warren is a Clinical-Community psychologist from the University of South Carolina. His primary research interests include community interventions for public health and identifying factors related to positive mental and physical health outcomes.

Stacie Pankow, MS is a behavioral researcher in the Department of Institutional Research at Augusta University.

Yvette Rother, BS is a Clinical-Community doctoral student researcher at the University of South Carolina. Please direct correspondence to yrother@email.sc.edu.

Ana Thompson, RDH, MHE is the Chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene at Augusta University.

Dr. Peggy Wagner is a Social Psychologist and a Distinguished Clinical Professor Emeritus from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. She served as the Director of Research and Faculty Development for the Department of Family Medicine at Augusta University.


The authors would like to thank Dr. Thad Wilkins, Dr. Audra Ford, Dr. Justin Harrell, and Debra Presnell for their help with this project.

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