Attitudes towards and beliefs about colorectal cancer and screening using the faecal occult blood test within the Italian-Australian community

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. Jul-Sep 2009;10(3):387-94.


Studies with minority ethnic communities worldwide reveal important differences in the content of beliefs about cancer and attitudes towards screening. Current initiatives in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening highlight the importance of identifying any illness-specific beliefs that might influence participation rates within the targeted age-range. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 Italian-Australians aged between 50 and 78 years, living in Adelaide, South Australia. Qualitative data from the interviews were analysed using framework analysis. Participants articulated specific beliefs about the nature of cancer, risk factors, prevention possibilities, and variety of potential barriers and benefits to faecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Although participants'beliefs overlapped with conventional medical models of cancer, the results also demonstrated the presence of specific cultural perceptions that might influence FOBT participation. Our results suggest that models used to inform communication about cancer need to be sensitive to culture specific concerns. Within the context of the older Italian-Australian community, there is a suggestion that self and response efficacy may be serious barriers to screening behavior and that bi-lingual, verbal delivery of information may be the most effective mode of communication to increase screening participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Australia
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care