Screening for colorectal cancer in a safety-net health care system: Access to care is critical and has implications for screening policy

Samir Gupta, Liyue Tong, James E. Allison, Elizabeth Carter, Mark Koch, Don C. Rockey, Paula Anderson, Chul Ahn, Keith Argenbright, Celette Sugg Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Data on the number of individuals eligible for screening, and rates of screening, are necessary to assess national colorectal cancer screening efforts. Such data are sparse for safety-net health systems. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of individuals ages 50 to 75 served by a safety-net health system in Tarrant County, TX was conducted to determine (a) the size of the potential screen-eligible population ages 50 to 75, (b) the rate of screening over 5 years among individuals ages 54 to 75, and (c) the potential predictors of screening, including sex, race/ethnicity, insurance status, frequency of outpatient visits, and socioeconomic status. Results: Of 28,708 potential screen-eligible individuals, 20,416 were ages 54 to 75 and analyzed for screening; 22.0% were screened within the preceding 5 years. Female gender, Hispanic ethnicity, ages 65 to 75, insurance status, and two or more outpatient visits were independently associated withscreening. Access to care was an important factor: adjusted odds ratio, 2.57 (95% confidence interval, 2.23-2.98) for any insurance; adjusted odds ratio, 3.53 (95% confidence interval, 3.15-3.97) for two or more outpatient visits. Conclusions: The screen-eligible population served by our safety-net health system was large, and the projected deficit in screen rates was substantial. Access to care was the dominant predictor of screening participation. If our results are replicable in similar health systems, the data suggest that screening guidelines and policy efforts must take into account the feasibility of proposed interventions. Strong advocacy for more resources for colorectal cancer screening interventions (including researchinto the best manner to provide screening for large populations) is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2373-2379
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Screening for colorectal cancer in a safety-net health care system: Access to care is critical and has implications for screening policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this