Am J Prev Med 2005 Jun;28(5):439-46
Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8036, USA.
Background: The availability of several effective screening options for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening calls for involving patients in decision making about CRC screening. The current study examined (1) participant characteristics associated with their preferences for participation in CRC screening decision making, (2) correspondence between participant preferences for decision making and their usual participation in decision making, and (3) associations between participant decision-making preferences and CRC screening practices and attitudes.
Methods: Data were obtained using a random, population-based telephone survey, conducted during August 2001 and April 2002, of 2119 community-living adults aged 50 to 75 years (56% female) residing in Long Island, NY.
Results: Overall, 77% reported that preferences for CRC screening decision making matched how screening decisions were usually made (simple kappa coefficient=0.67 [0.64-0.69]). Fifteen percent preferred to make screening decisions themselves, while 25% preferred to make decisions after considering their physician's opinion; nearly 50% preferred to share decision making, and 16% preferred that their physician make all screening decisions. Less education was associated with preferring that the physician make all screening decisions. Preferring physician involvement in screening decision making was associated with greater odds of citing no physician recommendation as a barrier to CRC screening, when compared to those who preferred no physician involvement. Preferring no physician involvement in decision making was associated with lower odds of reporting a recent CRC screening exam, as well as lower odds of endorsing positive attitudes and greater odds of endorsing negative attitudes toward CRC screening, when compared to participants who preferred physician involvement in decision making. Their attitudes also reflected intentions not to screen for CRC if they were asymptomatic, as well as the perception that they were not at personal risk for CRC.
Conclusions: Several factors were identified as significantly associated with preferences for decision making and deserve further exploration for their application to clinical practice.