Factors associated with colorectal cancer risk perception: the role of polyps and family history

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

Publication Date


Document Type



Aged; Colonic Polyps; Colorectal Neoplasms; Demography; Female; *Genetic Predisposition to Disease; *Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Humans; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; *Perception; Risk Factors; Socioeconomic Factors


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


It is unclear how objective risk factors influence the factors associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk perception. The goals of this study were to investigate factors associated with perceived risk of CRC and to explore how these relationships were modified by personal history of polyps or family history of CRC. The study involved a mailed questionnaire completed by 1646 men and women aged 50-75 years, which assessed perceived risk, demographic and health history variables and CRC worry. Participants were patients of primary care providers in a community medical group in central Massachusetts. The study sample seemed to have a generally accurate perception of CRC risk, which was appropriately increased in the presence of known risk factors. In multivariable analyses that controlled for all measured covariates, financial situation modified the association between perceived risk and a personal history of polyps, while age and insurance status modified the association between perceived risk and family history of CRC. CRC worry, self-reported health, personal history of other cancer and compliance with screening guidelines remained significant predictors of perceived risk. Potential interactions between objective risk factors and socioeconomic characteristics should be further explored in longitudinal studies.

DOI of Published Version



Health Educ Res. 2006 Oct;21(5):740-9. Epub 2006 Jun 26. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Health education research

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID