Why are the public so positive about colorectal cancer screening?

Linda N. Douma, Ellen Uiters, Danielle R. M. Timmermans

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is widely recommended. Earlier research showed that the general public are positive about CRC screening, as too the eligible CRC screening population. Among the eligible CRC screening population this positive perception has been shown to be associated with their perceptions of cancer, preventive health screening and their own health. It is unclear whether these concepts are also associated with the positive perception of the general public. Knowing this can provide insight into the context in which public perception concerning CRC screening is established. The aim of our study was to examine which main perceptions are associated with the public perception concerning CRC screening. Methods: An online survey was carried out in a Dutch population sample (adults 18+) among 1679 respondents (response rate was 56%). We assessed the public's perceptions concerning cancer, preventive health screening, own health, and the government, and examined their possible association with public opinion concerning CRC screening. Results: The public's positive attitude towards CRC screening is associated with the public's positive attitude towards preventive health screening in general, their perceived seriousness of cancer, their belief of health being important, and their trust in the government regarding national screening programmes. Conclusion: Trust in the government and perceptions regarding the seriousness of cancer, preventive health screening and the importance of one's health seem to be important factors influencing how the public view CRC screening. The public are likely to process information about CRC screening in such a way that it confirms their existing beliefs of cancer being serious and preventive screening being positive. This makes it likely that they will notice information about the possible benefits of CRC screening more than information about its possible downsides, which would also contribute to the positive perception of CRC screening.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1212
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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