Primary care physician compliance with colorectal cancer screening guidelines

Jesse N. Nodora, William D. Martz, Erin L. Ashbeck, Elizabeth T. Jacobs, Patricia A. Thompson, María Elena Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess self-reported compliance to colorectal cancer (CRC) screening guidelines among primary care physicians (PCPs) and to assess physician and practice characteristics associated with reported compliance. Methods: Survey data from 984 PCPs in Arizona were used. Self-reported CRC screening practices, recommendations, and compliance with guidelines were assessed. Physician and practice characteristics associated with guideline compliance were also evaluated. Results: While 77.5% of physicians reported using national screening guidelines, only 51.7% reported recommendations consistent with the guidelines. Younger physicians were significantly more likely to report compliance with screening guidelines (OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.07-2.10) as were female clinicians (OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.11-1.92). Physicians practicing in solo (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.19-0.58), group (OR = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.21-0.62), or community health centers (OR = 0.37, 95% CI = 0.17-0.81) were significantly less likely to report following guidelines as compared to those in academic practice. Guideline compliance was higher for fecal occult blood test (FOBT) (65.0%) than colonoscopy (56.7%); overuse of screening for these modalities was reported among 34.4% of physicians. Conclusions: PCPs are not adequately following CRC screening guidelines. Further studies are needed to clarify the reasons for this lack of compliance, especially as guidelines become more complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1277-1287
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Compliance
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Guidelines
  • Primary care physicians
  • Screening
  • Sigmoidoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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