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Gender and Ethnic Differences in Colorectal Cancer Screening Embarrassment and Physician Gender Preferences

Nathan S. Consedine

Maike K. Reddig

Inga Ladwig

Elizabeth A. Broadbent

colorectal neoplasms, male
ONF 2011, 38(6), E409-E417. DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E409-E417

Purpose/Objectives: To examine colorectal cancer (CRC) screening embarrassment among men and women from three ethnic groups and the associated physician gender preference by patient gender and ethnicity.

Design: Cross-sectional, purposive sampling.

Setting: Urban community in Brooklyn, NY.

Sample: A purpose-derived, convenience sample of 245 European American, African American, and immigrant Jamaican men and women (aged 45-70 years) living in Brooklyn, NY.

Methods: Participants provided demographics and completed a comprehensive measure of CRC screening embarrassment.

Main Research Variables: Participant gender and ethnicity, physician gender, and CRC screening embarrassment regarding feces or the rectum and unwanted physical intimacy.

Findings: As predicted, men and women both reported reduced fecal and rectal embarrassment and intimacy concern regarding same-gender physicians. As expected, Jamaicans reported greater embarrassment regarding feces or the rectum compared to European Americans and African Americans; however, in contrast to expectations, women reported less embarrassment than men. Interactions indicated that rectal and fecal embarrassment was particularly high among Jamaican men.

Conclusions: Men and women have a preference for same-gender physicians, and embarrassment regarding feces and the rectum shows the most consistent ethnic and gender variation.

Implications for Nursing: Discussing embarrassment and its causes, as well as providing an opportunity to choose a same-gender physician, may be promising strategies to reduce or manage embarrassment and increase CRC screening attendance.

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