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Influences and Practices in Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Health Care Providers Serving Northern Plains American Indians, 2011–2012
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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    The epidemiology of colorectal cancer, including incidence, mortality, age of onset, stage of diagnosis, and screening, varies regionally among American Indians. The objective of the Improving Northern Plains American Indian Colorectal Cancer Screening study was to improve understanding of colorectal cancer screening among health care providers serving Northern Plains American Indians.


    Data were collected, in person, from a sample of 145 health care providers at 27 health clinics across the Northern Plains from May 2011 through September 2012. Participants completed a 32-question, self-administered assessment designed to assess provider practices, screening perceptions, and knowledge.


    The proportion of providers who ordered or performed at least 1 colorectal cancer screening test for an asymptomatic, average-risk patient in the previous month was 95.9% (139 of 145). Of these 139 providers, 97.1% ordered colonoscopies, 12.9% ordered flexible sigmoidoscopies, 73.4% ordered 3-card, guaiac-based, fecal occult blood tests, and 21.6% ordered fecal immunochemical tests. Nearly two-thirds (64.7%) reported performing in-office guaiac-based fecal occult blood tests using digital rectal examination specimens. Providers who reported receiving a formal update on colorectal cancer screening during the previous 24 months were more likely to screen using digital rectal exam specimens than providers who had received a formal update on colorectal cancer screening more than 24 months prior (73.9% vs 56.9%, respectively, χ2 = 4.29, P = .04).


    Despite recommendations cautioning against the use of digital rectal examination specimens for colorectal cancer screening, the practice is common among providers serving Northern Plains American Indian populations. Accurate up-to-date, ongoing education for patients, the community, and health care providers is needed.

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