This study aims to identify the barriers to adopting faecal occult blood test (FOBT) and colonoscopy as colorectal cancer (CRC) screening methods among the eligible target population of Singapore.
Materials and methods:
This study was previously part of a randomised controlled trial reported elsewhere. Data was collected from Singapore residents aged 50 and above, via a household sample survey. The study recruited subjects who were aware of CRC screening methods, and interviewed them about the barriers to screening that they faced. Collected results on barriers to each screening method were analysed separately.
Out of the 343 subjects, 85 (24.8%) recruited knew about FOBT and/or colonoscopy. Most of the respondents (48.9%) cited not having symptoms as the reason for not using the FOBT. This is followed by inconvenience (31.1%), not having any family history of colon cancer (28.9%), lack of time (28.9%) and lack of reminders/recommendation (28.9%). Of the respondents who indicated not choosing colonoscopy as a screening method, more than one-half (54.8%) identified not having any symptoms as the main barrier for them, followed by not having any family history (38.7%) and having a healthy/low-risk lifestyle (29.0%). There was no difference between the reported barriers to each of the screening methods and the respondents’ dwelling types.
Lack of knowledge, particularly the misconceptions of not having symptoms and being healthy, were identified as the main barriers to FOBT and colonoscopy as screening methods. Interventions to increase the uptake of CRC screening in this population should be tailored to address this misconception.