National Cancer Institute
Health Services & Economics Branch
Cancer Control and Population Sciences

National Surveys of Colorectal Cancer Screening Policies & Practices:

Physician Recommendations for Follow-Up of Positive Fecal Occult Blood Tests

Abstract: Following a positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT), physician recommendation of complete diagnostic evaluation (CDE) is an important first step to ensure identification and treatment of preinvasive or invasive colorectal cancer. Physicians may not recommend CDE, however, potentially compromising the effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening programs and the quality of care for individual patients. The authors used a theoretical model of health behavior and two national physician samples to explore factors associated with recommendations for CDE. Overall, 63 percent of the sample of physicians providing primary care and 76 percent of the gastroenterologist and general surgeon sample reported recommending CDE. Variables representing the theoretical model constructs of physician background, experience, and practice patterns; practice environment; physician psychosocial representations; and patient characteristics were significantly associated with recommendations of CDE. Development of interventions to improve recommendations of CDE is an important area for future research.

Reference: Yabroff KR, Klabunde CN, Myers R, Brown ML. Physician recommendations for follow-up of positive fecal occult blood tests. Med Care Res Rev 2005 Feb;62(1):79-110. [View Abstract]

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Last modified:
30 Apr 2008
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