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Original research
Characteristics and attitudes of first round invitees in the Irish National Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme
  1. Susanne M O'Reilly1,
  2. Katie N Hughes1,
  3. Therese Mooney2,
  4. Patricia Fitzpatrick2,
  5. Diarmuid O'Donoghue1,3,
  6. Sara McNally2,
  7. Mary Codd4,
  8. Elizabeth Ryan1,
  9. Glen Doherty1,
  10. Olivia Mason4,
  11. Hugh E Mulcahy1,
  12. Garret Cullen1
  1. 1Centre for Colorectal Disease, St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2BowelScreen, National Screening Service, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3BowelScreen, National Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4School of Public Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Susanne M O'Reilly, Centre for Colorectal Disease, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin D04 T6F4, Ireland; susannemoreilly{at}


Background/objective Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is proven to reduce CRC-related mortality. Faecal immunochemical testing (FIT)-positive clients in the Irish National CRC Screening Programme underwent colonoscopy. Round 1 uptake was 40.2%. We sought to identify barriers to participation by assessing knowledge of CRC screening and examining attitudes towards FIT test and colonoscopy.

Methods Questionnaires based on a modified Champion’s Health Belief Model were mailed to 3500 invitees: 1000 FIT-positive, 1000 FIT-negative and 1500 non-participants. 44% responded: 550 (46%) FIT-positive, 577 (48%) FIT-negative and 69 (6%) non-responders (NR).

Results 25% of respondents (n=286) did not perceive a personal risk of cancer, did not perceive CRC to be a serious disease and did not perceive benefits to screening. These opinions were more likely to be expressed by men (p=0.035). One-fifth (n=251) found screening stressful. Fear of cancer diagnosis and test results were associated with stress. FIT-positive clients, women and those with social medical insurance were more likely to experience stress.

Conclusions The CRC screening process causes stress to one-fifth of participants. Greater use of media and involvement of healthcare professionals in disseminating information on the benefits of screening may lead to higher uptake in round 2.

  • colorectal cancer screening
  • screening
  • colorectal cancer
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  • Contributors SO'R: study concept and design, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of and critical revision of manuscript; KNH: acquisition and analysis of data; TM: acquisition of data, material support, study supervision; PF: study supervision; DO’D: study concept and design, supervision; SM: acquisition of data, material support; MC: study concept and design; ER: study concept and design; GD:

    study concept and design, critical revision of manuscript; OM: analysis and interpretation of data, statistical analysis; HEM: analysis and interpretation of data, statistical analysis; GC: study concept and design, critical revision of manuscript for important intellectual content, obtained funding, study supervision.

  • Funding The first author completed this research during her term as a Newman Fellow (University College Dublin), sponsored by Boston Scientific.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by Research Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. all data is uploaded as supplementary information.

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