Older adults

  Population considerations:

  • Increased risk. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age and is rarely found in individuals younger than 50 years (Hamlyn, 2007).
  • Lack of awareness. Many older adults are poorly informed about colorectal cancer and the possible benefits of screening (Beeker, 2000). They report that they receive little or no information about screening from health care providers or through mass media messages (Beeker, 2000).
  • Negative attitudes or fear. Many older adults have negative attitudes toward screening procedures as well as a fear of cancer (Beeker, 2000).

  Strategies to address these considerations:

  • Increase awareness. Public education campaigns, decision aids and targeted interventions can be used to increase awareness of prevention, early detection, and the benefits of screening. They can also encourage people aged 50 years and older, and the health care providers who serve them, to make screening a high priority in their lives (Beeker, 2000). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a variety of public broadcasts available at no charge. Print and broadcast materials are sent to State Health Departments and Tribes/Tribal Organizations, and are available on the campaign Web site, www.cdc.gov/cancer/ScreenforLife. The Web materials are designed for downloading and duplicating for immediate use. The site also serves as a resource for health educators, health professionals, state and local organizations, and others interested in colorectal cancer.
  • Decrease fear. Increasing familiarity with colorectal cancer prevention and screening options through education and campaign programs can help decrease negative attitudes and fear.

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