Patient-physician colorectal cancer screening discussion content and patients' use of colorectal cancer screening

Jennifer Elston Lafata, Greg Cooper, George Divine, Nancy Oja-Tebbe, Susan A. Flocke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends using the 5As (i.e., Assess, Advise, Agree, Assist and Arrange) when discussing preventive services. We evaluate the association of the 5As discussion during primary care office visits with patients' subsequent colorectal cancer (CRC) screening use. Methods: Audio-recordings of n= 443 periodic health exams among insured patients aged 50-80 years and due for CRC screening were joined with pre-visit patient surveys and screening use data from an electronic medical record. Association of the 5As with CRC screening was assessed using generalized estimating equations. Results: 93% of patients received a recommendation for screening (Advise) and 53% were screened in the following year. The likelihood of screening increased as the number of 5A steps increased: compared to patients whose visit contained no 5A step, those whose visit contained 1-2 steps (OR = 2.96 [95% CI 1.16, 7.53]) and 3 or more steps (4.98 [95% CI 1.84, 13.44]) were significantly more likely to use screening. Conclusions: Physician CRC screening recommendations that include recommended 5A steps are associated with increased patient adherence. Practice implications: A CRC screening recommendation (Advise) that also describes patient eligibility (Assess) and provides help to obtain screening (Assist) may lead to improved adherence to CRC screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-82
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Decision making
  • Patient-physician communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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