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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012;13(8):3983-7.

Participation and barriers to colorectal cancer screening in Malaysia.

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Department of Family Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kelantan, Malaysia.


In Malaysia, colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in males and the third most common in females. Mortality due to colorectal cancer can be effectively reduced with early diagnosis. This study was designed to look into colorectal cancer screening participation and its barriers among average risk individuals in Malaysia. A cross sectional study was conducted from August 2009 till April 2010 involving average risk individuals from 44 primary care clinics in West Malaysia. Each individual was asked whether they have performed any of the colorectal cancer screening methods in the past five years. The barrier questions had three domains: patient factors, test factors and health care provider factors. Descriptive analysis was achieved using Statistical Program for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 12.0. A total of 1,905 average risk individuals responded making a response rate of 93.8%. Only 13 (0.7%) respondents had undergone any of the colorectal cancer screening methods in the past five years. The main patient and test factors for not participating were embarrassment (35.2%) and feeling uncomfortable (30.0%), respectively. There were 11.2% of respondents who never received any advice to do screening. The main reason for them to undergo screening was being advised by health care providers (84.6%). The study showed that participation in colorectal cancer screening in Malaysia is extremely low and multiple factors contribute to this situation. Given the importance of the disease, efforts should be made to increase colorectal cancer screening activities in Malaysia.

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