Screening practices of unaffected people at familial risk of colorectal cancer

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Feb;5(2):240-7. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0229. Epub 2011 Oct 26.


Our objective was to determine screening practices of unaffected people in the general population at moderately increased and potentially high risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) because of their family history of the disease. A total of 1,627 participants in the Australasian Colorectal Cancer Family Registry study were classified into two CRC risk categories, according to the strength of their family history of the disease. We calculated the proportion of participants that adhered to national CRC screening guidelines by age group and for each familial risk category. We carried out a multinomial logistic regression analysis to evaluate the associations between screening and sociodemographic factors. Of the 1,236 participants at moderately increased risk of CRC, 70 (6%) reported having undergone guideline-defined "appropriate" screening, 251 (20%) reported some, but less than appropriate screening, and 915 (74%) reported never having had any CRC screening test. Of the 392 participants at potentially high risk of CRC, three (1%) reported appropriate screening, 140 (36%) reported some, but less than appropriate screening, and 249 (64%) reported never having had any CRC screening test. On average, those of middle age, higher education, and who had resided in Australia longer were more likely to have had screening for CRC. The uptake of recommended screening by unaffected people at the highest familial risk of developing CRC is extremely low. Guidelines for CRC screening are not being implemented in the population. More research is needed to identify the reasons so as to enable development of strategies to improve participation in screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult