Socioeconomic variation in participation in colorectal cancer screening

J Med Screen. 2002;9(3):104-8. doi: 10.1136/jms.9.3.104.


Objectives: To investigate socioeconomic variation in participation in flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) screening for colorectal cancer.

Design: A prospective study nested within a multicentre randomised controlled trial of the efficacy of FS screening for the prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer (the UK flexible sigmoidoscopy trial).

Setting: Glasgow, Scotland.

Participants: 55-64 year old adults, registered with general practitioners participating in the FS trial.

Main outcome measures: Screening participation measured at three levels: questionnaire return; interest in screening; attendance at screening.

Results: Socioeconomic deprivation was a strong predictor of participation. Return of the screening questionnaire, expression of interest in screening, and attendance at the test, were all lower in more deprived groups.

Conclusions: These results highlight the need to consider ways to reduce inequalities in screening uptake, in parallel with the introduction of any new screening programmes, to avoid exacerbating social gradients in cancer mortality.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Scotland
  • Sigmoidoscopy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires