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Fecal occult blood testing: people in Ontario are unaware of it and not ready for it

Ritvo P, Myers R, Del Giudice ME, Paszat L, Cotterchio M, Howlett R, Mai V, Brown P, Sullivan T, Rabeneck L. Can Fam Physician. 2009; 55(2)176-7.e4.


Objective — To determine factors that influence awareness of, and readiness to undergo, fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening.

Design — Validated survey designed to ascertain respondents' stages of decision making regarding CRC screening using FOBT.

Setting — Ontario.

Participants — A total of 1013 people 50 years old and older drawn from all regions of the province using a random-digit dialing telephone protocol.

Main Outcome Measures — Awareness of FOBT and readiness to undergo it for screening for CRC.

Results — Response rate was 69%. Results indicated that 54% of women and 45% of men had "heard of" FOBT, and 26% of women and 17% of men had heard of it but were still "not considering" FOBT screening. Only 17% of all respondents had "decided to have" FOBT screening. Demographic factors associated with having heard of FOBT were female sex, completion of college or higher education, and being married or living as married. Demographic factors associated with active consideration of FOBT among those who reported awareness of it were male sex and being married or living as married.

Conclusion — Many people seemed uninformed about FOBT and not ready to undertake this type of screening. Results of this survey could help guide strategies and develop programs to make eligible people aware of CRC screening using FOBT and to motivate them to undergo testing.

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Keywords: Screening and prevention Colorectal cancer

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