Abstract Studies that examine colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) behaviors and correlates rely on self-reports of screening status. Self-reports of CRCS may be more biased than other self-reported cancer screening because of multiple screening options, tests may be offered in combination, and screening schedules differ for each test. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored the development of a core set of questions to measure self-reported CRCS that are consistent with current guidelines, the NCI Colorectal Cancer Screening questionnaire (NCI CRCS). Several studies support the validity and reliability of this measure; however, none of the existing studies have described African American (AA) responses to items that might be important to clinical decision making and research related to screening adherence. This paper addresses the limited descriptions of AA response patterns to items that comprise the NCI CRCS. The NCI CRCS was administered to 439 AAs 50 to 75 years, participating in the baseline survey of a Center for Excellence in Cancer Communication CRC study. The survey measured self-reported CRCS, factors associated with screening, and response patterns to items that might affect estimates of screening and screening adherence. AA participants reported on CRCS, the test used, and time interval since last screening. Except for queries related to month and year of screening, few participants reported uncertainty in response to items. Two thirds of participants reported receiving CRCS; however, less than half of participants were adherent to guidelines. Less than half reported healthcare provider recommendations to screen. AA participants responded to items on the NCI CRCS as developed. Until new strategies or items are available, interval since last screening appears to be the most appropriate item to estimate AA self-reported CRCS adherence. Strategies are needed to increase physician recommendation to screen.
Keywords: African American responses, Colorectal cancer screening, National Cancer Institute