Getting the first degree relatives to screen for colorectal cancer is harder than it seems—patients’ and their first degree relatives’ perspectives
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First degree relatives (FDR) of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients are at increased risk of CRC compared to the general population. However, screening colonoscopy rates amongst the FDRs remain dismal. The aim of the study was to explore the various issues amongst the patients and their FDR precluding their adoption of screening colonoscopy.
A qualitative study of CRC patients and their FDRs was performed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants using open-ended questions until data saturation was achieved. These qualitative data were then thematically analysed.
Fifty CRC patients and thirty-one FDRs were recruited between June 2015 and December 2015. For the patients, three main themes emerged, which include (i) poor understanding of the CRC screening guidelines for their FDRs, (ii) recommendations are lacking amongst medical professionals and (iii) numerous barriers are hindering patients from being advocates for screening colonoscopy for their FDRs. For the FDRs, three main themes emerged. These include (i) poor understanding of the exact CRC screening guidelines amongst the FDRs, (ii) the lack of health promotion efforts amongst medical professionals and (iii) barriers to the uptake of screening colonoscopy such as fear of colonoscopy, high cost of the procedure, its associated inconvenience and perceived invulnerability of the individual.
Patients and FDRs are not aware of the increased risks of developing CRC amongst the family members. Guidelines regarding screening are also not clearly understood. The numerous barriers that are present amongst the CRC patients and their FDRs can be addressed.
KeywordsFirst degree relatives Colorectal cancer Barriers Screening Qualitative interviews
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Supported by the Start Up Fund from Department of Surgery, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
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