Assessing attitudes toward laxative preparation in colorectal cancer screening and effects on future testing: potential receptivity to computed tomographic colonography

Mayo Clin Proc. 2007 Jun;82(6):666-71. doi: 10.4065/82.6.666.


Objective: To investigate whether removal of the laxative preparation would improve colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates. RESPONDENTS AND METHODS: Data are from a mixed-mode mail and telephone survey of 1636 noninstitutionalized Minnesota residents who were 18 years or older that was conducted from July 15 through October 25, 2005. The overall response rate was 49%. Analysis focused on the 759 respondents who were 50 years or older.

Results: One third (32%) of the respondents identified the laxative preparation as the most troublesome part of CRC screening. Overall, the self-reported likelihood and anticipated timing of examination increase when the laxative preparation is removed. Both univariate and multivariate analysis showed that the odds of being "much more likely" to undergo screening in the future with a test that does not include a laxative preparation are greatest among those who have been tested previously, regard the laxative preparation as a big problem, or both.

Conclusion: In this prospective survey, laxative preparation appeared to be a major disincentive to CRC screening. Emerging data suggest that performance of laxative-free computed tomographic colonography may represent an attractive option that removes this relatively common disincentive to CRC screening participation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cathartics*
  • Colonography, Computed Tomographic / psychology*
  • Colonoscopy / psychology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cathartics