Faecal occult blood screening: knowledge, attitudes, and practice in four Hong Kong primary care clinics

Tammy K W Tam, K K Ng, C M Lau, T C Lai, W Y Lai, Luke C Y Tsang
Hong Kong Medical Journal 2011, 17 (5): 350-7
OBJECTIVES. To assess primary care patients for their awareness, knowledge, and attitude towards colorectal cancer and screening, to report on the uptake of faecal occult blood test screening and the results of screening, and explore predictors of screening uptake. DESIGN. Cross-sectional study. SETTING. Four primary care clinics in Hong Kong. PATIENTS. A total of 1664 patients aged 50 to 74 years attending the clinics in the period July 2006 to July 2007. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES. Percentage of subjects who were aware that colorectal cancer is common and curable at an early stage, and who knew that faecal occult blood test or colonoscopy is useful for screening; relevant knowledge score; uptake rate of faecal occult blood testing; rate of testing positive; and factors predicting uptake. RESULTS. A total of 1645 questionnaires were collected. In all, 89% (95% confidence interval, 88-91%) were aware that colorectal cancer is common, 95% (94-96%) believed faecal occult blood test and colonoscopy are useful for screening, and 58% (56-61%) achieved a knowledge score of 50% or above. The uptake rate of the faecal occult blood test was 35%. Uptake was higher among those with a positive family history (odds ratio=1.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.08-2.27; P=0.02), those who were more aware that colorectal cancer is common (1.86; 1.29-2.69; P=0.001), and that colorectal cancer is potentially curable at an early stage (1.76; 1.32-2.36; P=0.0001). Rate of testing positive was 2.1% (95% confidence interval, 0.9-3.3%); no colorectal cancer was detected and the neoplasia detection rate (for cancers and adenomas) was 5.1 per 1000 subjects screened. CONCLUSIONS. Patients were aware that colorectal cancer is common in our community, and faecal occult blood test or colonoscopy is useful for screening. The uptake of screening was low, though relatively higher for those with a positive family history and greater awareness of the high frequency and potential for cure of colorectal cancer. Faecal occult blood test positivity rate was 2.1%, and neoplasia detection rate 5.1 per 1000 screened.

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