Gender Disparity in Colorectal Cancer Screening

Statistical Evidence

Prior to recent studies, statistical evidence has suggested that there have been significant gender disparities in CRC screening. CRC screening rates are far lower than the rates regarding other cancer types, but the issue has been considered to be even more drastic for females (Callcut et al., 2006). According to this data, only 27% of women 50 years and older pass CRC screening compared to 34% among men (Callcut et al., 2006). Researchers have suggested that lower rates among women are caused by the fact that they are less likely to be offered a CRC screening procedure by health providers. A study by Callcut et al. (2006), however, established that the difference is not statistically significant, and prior numbers could not be validated. There is, however, a difference among varying age groups among both men and women. For instance, women are more likely to get screened when they are younger, while men undergo their first screening much later (Callcut et al., 2006). Moreover, diagnosis rates are lower in women than men, which could suggest that men are in a much more unfavorable position than women.

Gender-Specific Screening

Lower diagnosis rates among women may suggest that CRC screening should be tailored for each gender. Such an approach already exists in a number of countries, including South Korea and Japan (Kim et al., 2015). The results from these states propose that diagnosis rates are higher among women than men (Kim et al., 2015). Such data supports the claim that lower diagnosis rates are the result of screening procedures that could be inadequate for females. This difference comes from the fact that there are gender-related biological differences that affect CRC risk (Kim et al., 2015). CRC is manifested differently in terms of molecular characteristics depending on tumor location (Kim et al., 2015). It was discovered that women struggle more with right-sided CRC, while left-sided CRC is more prevalent among men (Kim et al., 2015). The exact reasons why the location differs among males and females are not yet known, but implications exist in terms of mortality rates.

Barriers to CRC Screening

Timely diagnosis is essential when battling with cancer, and therefore, premature screening is vital. However, the majority of people do not undergo screening procedures due to various reasons. Understanding these hindrances to timely CRCS is critical for designing any interventions aimed at increasing screening rates. Jones et al. (2010) suggest that 74% of people are either afraid of the screening procedure or do not want to be involved in bowel preparation. Individuals need to attain information about how the screening process works in order to alleviate their fears. Physicians could also provide patients with instructions regarding bowel preparation and useful tips for making the process simpler.

Gender differences also exist in terms of barriers to CRC screening. Kim et al. (2015) suggest that women are more likely to be affected by socio-cultural factors and continuously delay screening. Lack of knowledge about the risks of CRC and its future implications for health and life also serves as a significant hindrance (Jones et al., 2010). In this context, the role of physicians and other health providers increases. They need to provide patients with accurate information and explain the implications of CRC, how it can be prevented or treated, and what should be done on behalf of patients.


Callcut, Rachel A, Kaufman, Stephanie, Stone-Newsom, Robert, Remington, Patrick, & Mahvi, David. (2006). Gender disparities in colorectal cancer screening: True or false? Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, 10(10), 1409-1417. Web.

Jones, Resa M, Devers, Kelly J, Kuzel, Anton J, & Woolf, Steven H. (2010). Patient-reported barriers to colorectal cancer screening: A mixed-methods analysis. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 38(5), 508-516. Web.

Kim, Sung-Eun, Paik, Hee Young, Yoon, Hyuk, Lee, Jung Eun, Kim, Nayoung, & Sung, Mi-Kyung. (2015). Sex and gender-specific disparities in colorectal cancer risk. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 21(17), 5167-5175. Web.

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