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04-12-2012 | General practice | Article

Patients want expert to guide CRC test


Free abstract

medwireNews: Most patients want to receive an expert's recommendation as to whether they should undergo bowel cancer screening or not, as well as to be fully informed about the risks and benefits, report public health experts in the British Journal of Cancer.

Professor Jane Wardle, Director of Cancer Research UK's Health Behaviour Research Centre at University College London, and colleagues looked at public preferences for a recommendation in the context of the current NHS Colorectal Cancer (CRC) screening programme.

The researchers interviewed 2,000 UK adults, aged 50-80 years, to ask their preference between a strong recommendation to participate in faecal occult blood testing, a recommendation alongside advice to make an individual decision and advice only.

They found that most - 84% - would prefer to have a recommendation, 47% preferring a strong recommendation and 37% preferring to consider a recommendation along with advice. The large majority (79%) said they trusted the NHS with guidance on whether the test is worth having, but equally most also wanted to receive full information on the benefits (78%) and risks (77%) of CRC screening.

"We have seen that most people who wanted a screening recommendation also wanted all the available information. This suggests that advice from an expert is an important part of the decision-making process and not an alternative to it," Professor Wardle said.

"The study also showed that most people in the UK have a high level of trust in the NHS, which may explain why so many people are so keen to have a clear recommendation from it."

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price, Senior medwireNews Reporter