Colonoscopy has a wider acceptance in wealthy class, but socially and economically disadvantaged groups still prefer blood test, reports a study published in the journal Cancer.
Doctors advise people to get colon screening regularly after 50 years of age.
Colonoscopy, the most sensitive test available today, is a screening test where the rectum and the entire colon are examined using a light instrument called a colonoscope.
The popularity of colonoscopy is increasing mainly because people who are above poverty line are opting for this screening test rather than the fecal blood test.
For the study, the research team collected data from thousands of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 in a National Health Survey. The data from the years 2000, 2005 and 2008 was analyzed.
The researchers found that, the number of people who did an at-home fecal blood test dropped by about 6 points.
The team found that in 2000, 17 percent of people who earned four times the poverty level got a home test, compared with just 10 percent in 2008 according to Reuters.
Income and education levels affected the decisions of people to choose one screening test over other.
“Lower socioeconomic groups are significantly less likely to have health insurance and more likely to have barriers in terms of paying for – even if they are covered- more expensive procedures like colonoscopy,” said Priti Brandi, researcher at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the study to Reuter’s Health.
“Limited literacy may be an overlooked barrier in colorectal cancer screening,” write Nancy C. Dolan and colleagues in a study published in the Journal of clinical Oncology (2004). The study analyzed the attitudes towards colorectal screening tests 377 males over the ages of 50.
A related study published in the journal Gut says that even when given a free-of-charge colonoscopy, only 38% of the high risk individuals who were contacted agreed for the test.
Prior studies have indicated that the screening tests increased when people were given a choice of tests.
“Because these all have same benefit, the focus should be on maximizing the number of people screened one way or the other. Patient preferences are important here,” said Dr. Virginia Moyer, chair of the U.S Preventive Task Force or USPSTF.
Reuters reports that the cost of colonoscopy costs several thousand dollars while blood tests cost few dollars.
CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program provides funding to 25 states and 4 tribes across the U.S for five years. The goal of this program is to increase screening rates among men and women aged 50 or above.