Characteristics of hospital controls according to willingness to participate in a cancer genetic epidemiologic research in China

Lin Li, Min Zhang, C. D'Arcy J. Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Studies on participants' willingness to be interviewed in-person and donate blood specimens for genetic cancer research are few and most have been conducted in Western countries. Little information exists about the willingness to participate in genetic cancer research in China. Methods: In 2009-2010, 560 hospital controls, matched to incidence cases by age, gender and residency, were randomly selected from outpatients attending the Health Examination Centre at the China Medical University's teaching hospital in Northeast China. Demographic and lifestyle characteristics were measured using a validated questionnaire by face-to-face interview and 5 ml blood samples were collected from consenting participants. A 7-point 'willingness to participate' scale was developed for use by the interviewer to record the levels of ease or difficulty experienced in recruiting each participant. The willingness to participate was compared between different subgroups of participants. Results: The participation rate was 96.1% among the hospital controls. Characteristics associated with willingness to participate were age (≥ 60 years) and tertiary education. Weaker associations with gender and malignancies in first degree relatives were not statistically significant. The factors not strongly or significantly associated with willingness to participate were income, marital status, body mass index, smoking, passive smoking, alcohol consumption, tea drinking, or physical activity. Conclusion: This study suggests that while there is general acceptance of participation in genetic cancer epidemiologic research in China across subgroups of outpatient hospital controls, younger age and education are associated with increased willingness to participate, while lifestyle factors generally had little impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2323-2328
Number of pages6
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • genetic cancer research
  • willingness to participate
  • case-control study
  • in-person interview


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