Background: A retrospective, qualitative study in a university setting was undertaken to better understand factors influencing patient compliance with screening sigmoidoscopy.
Methods: Individuals who completed screening sigmoidoscopy were interviewed to learn about the physician-patient relationship, general knowledge of cancer, family experience with cancer, exposure to the media, and specific reasons why sigmoidoscopy was completed.
Results: Respondents reported that their physician's recommendation had a strong positive influence on their decision to have sigmoidoscopic screening, as did their family and personal experiences with cancer. In all cases, the patients stated that they would not have had a sigmoidoscopy without the recommendation of their physician. Respondents were little influenced by exposure to the media or by famous personalities.
Conclusions: The importance of the physician's recommendation for the patient to have sigmoidoscopy and demonstration of concern with early cancer detection may represent the primary motivating factors in completion of screening sigmoidoscopy.