To explore colorectal cancer risk perceptions among Latinos. Focus groups discussions among Spanish-speaking Latinos conducted between February and July 2007 with 37 men and women who were age-eligible for colorectal cancer screening. Predominant themes of perceived colorectal cancer risk included: general cancer risks, risks related to nutrition and the digestive tract, and risks related to sexual practices. Participants frequently referred to the role of diet in keeping the colon “clean,” suggesting that retained feces increase colorectal cancer risk. Among both men and women, rectal sex was commonly associated with increased colorectal cancer risk. Some Latinos may hold misperceptions about colorectal cancer risks, including an association between rectal sex and colon cancer, that may impact their screening behaviors. Clinicians and public health officials should consider these potential risk misperceptions and explore for other risk misperceptions when counseling and educating patients about colorectal cancer screening.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer, Hispanic Americans, Cancer risk, Focus groups