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Br J Cancer. 2015 Feb 3;112(3):562-6. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2014.643. Epub 2014 Dec 23.

Enthusiasm for cancer screening in Great Britain: a general population survey.

Author information

1
Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.
2
Cancer Research UK, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AD, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

With growing concerns about risk of harm from cancer screening, particularly from overdiagnosis, this study aimed to assess public attitudes to cancer screening in Great Britain.

METHODS:

We used a population-based survey to assess attitudes to cancer screening, screening history and demographic characteristics, in men and women aged 50-80 years. Data were collected using face-to-face computer-assisted interviews in 2012.

RESULTS:

In our sample of 2024, attitudes to cancer screening were overwhelmingly positive with almost 90% believing that screening is 'almost always a good idea' and 49% saying they would be tested for cancer even if it was untreatable. Attitudes were particularly positive among those who had previously taken part in breast or colorectal screening.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that attitudes to cancer screening are very positive in Great Britain. Widespread enthusiasm for cancer screening may hamper attempts to encourage a greater appreciation of the limitations and potential harms of screening.

PMID:
25535731
PMCID:
PMC4453657
DOI:
10.1038/bjc.2014.643
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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