Patients Know More Today About Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

A new Australian Rotary Health funded study suggests an improvement in knowledge of Colorectal Cancer risk factors over the last five years.

Funding Partner PhD Scholarship recipient Natalie Dodd has recently published her research findings on Colorectal Cancer (CRC) in the Public Health Research & Practice journal. The aim of Natalie’s study was to examine knowledge of CRC risk factors and screening recommendations among general practice patients aged between 18 and 85.

The study found that of 411 Australian participants, 86 (24%) could identify all risk factors associated with Colorectal Cancer, including smoking, alcohol consumption, low fibre, overweight and being over the age of 50.

Those with tertiary education were better at identifying at least one risk factor, while retired participants had a harder time identifying at least one risk factor. 10% of the overall sample could not identify any, an improvement from previous research in 2012 which saw almost 35% of participants unable to identify any risk factors.

When it came to CRC screening processes, the majority of participants had limited knowledge, with less than 10% providing correct responses to all screening questions. However, just over half (53%) knew that the faecal occult blood test (FOBT) was the recommended screening test.

For these questions, it seemed participants over the age of 50 had higher screening scores than their younger counterparts. Participants with tertiary education once again were more likely to obtain a higher score.

Overall this research shows while there were gaps in the awareness of CRC risk factors and screening recommendations in Australian general practice patients, there was improvement in some areas when compared to previous Australian research. These findings could pave the way to better CRC education strategies in the future.

Natalie was awarded the Rotary District 9650 Bowelscan Scholarship in 2015 to improve uptake of colorectal screening among primary care attendees.

Click here to read the full study.

Media contact: Jessica Cooper (Australian Rotary Health) (02) 8837 1900 or 

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