Rural–Urban Differences in Colorectal Cancer Screening Barriers in Nebraska

Alejandro G. Hughes, Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, Paulette Schnell, Amr S. Soliman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Nebraska ranks 36th nationally in colorectal cancer screening. Despite recent increases in CRC screening rates, rural areas in Nebraska have consistently shown lower rates of CRC screening uptake, compared to urban areas. The objective of this study was to investigate reasons for lower CRC screening rates among Nebraska residents, especially among rural residents. We developed a questionnaire based on Health Belief Model (HBM) constructs to identify factors associated with the use of CRC screening. The questionnaire was mailed in 2014 to adults aged 50–75 years in an urban community in the east and a rural community in the west regions of the state. Multiple logistic regression models were created to assess the effects of HBM constructs, rural residence, and demographic factors on CRC screening use. Of the 1200 surveys mailed, 393 were returned (rural n = 200, urban n = 193). Rural respondents were more likely to perceive screening cost as a barrier. Rural residents were also more likely to report that CRC cannot be prevented and it would change their whole life. In multiple regression models, rural residence, perceived embarrassment, and perceived unpleasantness about screening were significantly associated with reduced odds of receiving colonoscopy. Older age (62 years and older), having a personal doctor, and perceived risk of getting CRC were significantly associated with increased odds of receiving colonoscopy. Interventions to increase uptake of colorectal cancer screening in rural residents should be tailored to acknowledge unique perceptions of screening methods and barriers to screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1074
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 25 2015


  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Health Belief Model
  • Rural disparities
  • Rural population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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