Identifying Gender Barriers for Colorectal Cancer Screening and Assessing the Need for a Multigender Endoscopy Team: A Prospective Multicenter Study.
Introduction: Gender preferences have been reported as a barrier to colorectal cancer screening, particularly among women. We aim to identify the role of patients' gender preferences for endoscopists and endoscopy team members, with the effect of age-related and regional differences.
Methods: We conducted an anonymous, voluntary survey of all adult outpatients presenting at our endoscopy centers before their procedures.
Results: We received 2,138 (1,207 women, 905 men, and 26 undisclosed; 50% urban and 50% rural) completed surveys. The majority of the patients (89%) did not have an endoscopist gender preference, while 8% preferred a same-gender endoscopist, and 2% preferred an opposite gender endoscopist. Among patients who expressed a gender preference, men more commonly preferred a same-gender endoscopist than women (91% vs 67%, P < 0.05). More patients preferred a same-gender endoscopy team member than a same-gender endoscopist (17% vs 8%, P < 0.05), and women more commonly preferred a same-gender endoscopy team member than men (26% vs 6%, P < 0.05). Most patients who expressed same-gender endoscopist preference were between the ages of 50-69 years as compared to other age groups (P < 0.05). Of the urban patients, 9% expressed a same-gender endoscopist preference and 3% expressed an opposite gender preference, compared with 7% and 2% of rural patients (P < 0.05). Among patients with any endoscopist gender preference, rural patients were more willing to wait longer (41% vs 21%, P < 0.05), whereas urban patients were willing to pay more (64% vs 14%, P < 0.05) to have their preferences met. Discussion: Contrary to previous studies, most patients did not have an endoscopist gender preference. Interestingly, men had more same-gender endoscopist preference, whereas women had more same-gender endoscopy team member preference. Age-related and regional differences exist among patients' gender preferences for their endoscopist and endoscopy team member, and addressing these preferences while creating an environment of a multigender endoscopy team may be beneficial in improving colorectal cancer screening.