Flexible sigmoidoscopy screening for colorectal cancer: uptake in a population-based pilot programme

J Med Screen. 2010;17(2):75-8. doi: 10.1258/jms.2010.010055.


Objective: The aim of this study was is to examine uptake of population-based, flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) screening delivered by nurses in a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse area of London, England.

Methods: All adults aged 58 and 59 years registered at 34 general practices in North London (n = 2260) were mailed an invitation to attend FS screening at the local hospital.

Results: In total, 45% (1024/2260) accepted the invitation and attended, 5% (114/2260) accepted the invitation but failed to attend, 5% (111/2260) accepted the invitation but were unable to attend within the time-frame of the pilot study, 7% (165/2260) declined the offer, 27% (602/2260) did not respond, and 11% (244/2260) were ineligible or did not receive the invitation. Among those eligible to be screened, the uptake rate was 51% (1024/2016). Uptake did not differ by gender, but people living in the most affluent quintile of areas had a substantially higher uptake rate (63%) than those living in the most deprived quintile (38%).

Conclusion: Uptake of FS screening delivered as a population-based programme was over 50% among the eligible population in a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse area of London. Disparities in uptake should be addressed to avoid exacerbating health inequalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sigmoidoscopy / methods*