Perceived life expectancy and colorectal cancer screening intentions and behaviour: A population-based UK study

Prev Med Rep. 2019 Oct 21;16:101002. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.101002. eCollection 2019 Dec.


The relationships between perceived life expectancy (PLE), cancer screening intentions and behaviour are not well understood, despite the importance of remaining life expectancy for the early diagnosis benefits of screening. This study investigates the relationships between PLE and each of: the intention to complete faecal occult blood test (FOBt) screening, 'ever' uptake of FOBt screening, and repeat uptake of FOBt screening for colorectal cancer. Data were from the population-representative Attitudes, Behaviour and Cancer UK Survey II (ABACUS II) in England in 2015. Eligible respondents for the present analysis were aged 60-70 years (FOBt eligible age range), who completed the survey question on perceived life expectancy (N = 824). We used logistic regression models to estimate the associations between PLE and the intention to complete screening, 'ever' uptake of screening, and repeat uptake of screening, with adjustment for age, gender, occupation-based social grade, marital status, ethnicity, and smoking status. PLE was positively associated with repeated uptake of FOBt (adjusted OR = 2.55; 95% CI: 1.04-6.30 for expecting to live to ≥90 years versus <80 years). Older adults may base decisions to continually participate in cancer screening on their expectations of remaining life expectancy. Future research should investigate the feasibility and acceptability of individualised cancer screening recommendations that take life expectancy into account.

Keywords: Cancer screening; Colorectal cancer; Faecal occult blood test; Perceived life expectancy.