Quality of life in participants of a CRC screening program

Br J Cancer. 2012 Oct 9;107(8):1295-301. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2012.386. Epub 2012 Sep 6.


Background: Little is known about the effect of participating in a colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programme on quality of life (QOL), neither for participants with a negative nor for those with a positive test result. These findings, however, are important to evaluate the impact of CRC screening.

Methods: Participants from CRC screening trials were sent a questionnaire, which included validated measures on generic health-related QOL, generic anxiety and screen-specific anxiety. Both faecal immunochemical test (FIT) and flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) participants, either with negative or positive test results, were addressed.

Results: The response rate was 73% (1289 out of 1772) for FIT and 78% (536 out of 689) for FS participants, with mean ages varying from 63-66 years. Positive FIT participants had worse physical (PCS-12, 47.1 vs 48.3, P=0.02), but equal mental QOL scores (MCS-12, 51.1 vs 51.6, P=0.26). Positive and negative FS participants had similar QOL scores. Both FIT and FS participants with a positive test result reported more screen-specific anxiety than negative FIT and FS participants. Positive and negative FS participants had similar generic anxiety scores.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the burden of participating in CRC screening may be limited. Conducting a prospective study to confirm these results is recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunochemistry
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sigmoidoscopy