Barriers and Facilitators to Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Rural Women in Community Clinics by Heath Literacy
Background: Rural women lag rural men and urban women in colon cancer (CRC) screening completion. Objective: To identify rural female patients’ knowledge, beliefs, barriers, self-efficacy, prior recommendation and completion of CRC screening using an FOBT and to compare these factors by health literacy (HL) level.
Methods: This descriptive study was conducted between 2015 and 2016 in 4 rural community clinics in South Lousiana. Patients overdue for screening were given a structured interview by a research assistant.
Results: 339 women were enrolled, mean age 58.5, 32% had limited HL, 66% were African American. Most (91.7%) had heard of CRC, yet only 71% knew of any CRC screening tests. Women with adequate HL had greater knowledge of specific tests than those with limited HL (78.4% vs 56.6%, p<0.001). Only 25.7% had been given information on CRC testing; those with adequate HL were more likely to have received information (30.1% vs 16.8%; p=0.017). Most women (93.2%) indicated they would want to know if they had CRC, while 72.2% reported a provider had recommended CRC screening. Only 24.9% said a healthcare provider had ever given them an FOBT or that they had ever completed an FOBT (22.7%). There were no differences in women’s report of recommendation or completion by HL level. Self-efficacy for completing an FOBT was high; over 90% indicated they could get an FOBT, complete it and mail results to the lab. Level of confidence did not vary by literacy. Three of the four barrier items varied by HL with women with low HL being more likely to fear doing an FOBT because they thought FOBT instructions would be confusing (p=0.002), doing the test would be embarrassing (p=0.025) or messy (p=0.057).
Conclusion: Rural women are receptive to CRC screening and view FOBTs as effective. Rural community clinics need to provide low cost FOBTs with literacy, gender and culturally appropriate information.