Knowledge, perception and practices of colorectal cancer screening in an ethnically diverse population

Jenn Hian Koo*, Mal M. Arasaratnam, Ken Liu, Diane M. Redmond, Susan J. Connor, Joseph J Y Sung, Rupert W L Leong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening improves survival and its success depends on the participation of the at-risk population. Few studies have adequately assessed screening knowledge, perception and participation according to birthplace. This study assesses the knowledge and perception of CRC in an ethnically diverse population, and evaluates the association with screening participation and intention. Identification of specific predictors of screening may aid the development of interventions to improve overall CRC screening. Methods: An interview-based survey, conducted on subjects aged 30-70 years, assessed knowledge and perception towards CRC and screening tests. Primary endpoints were screening participation and intent. Statistical methods used were Chi-square, Mann-Whitney U and logistic regression. Results: A total of 543 subjects (43% males, 53% Australian-born (AB), 63% aged 50 years and above) were recruited. Compared with AB, non-Australian-born (NAB) respondents had poorer knowledge, and NAB background predicted for poorer knowledge independent of sex, education, media and familiarity with CRC patient. Compared with AB respondents aged 50 years and above, NAB respondents had lower screening participation (17.4% vs. 31.8%; P= 0.01), lesser intention (75.8% vs. 90.5%; P< 0.001), and had received fewer doctors' screening recommendations (16.5% vs. 27.1%; P= 0.04). In multivariate analysis, doctors' recommendation, media and improved perception independently predicted screening participation; knowledge and media exposure predicted intent. Conclusions: The knowledge of CRC and screening is significantly poorer in the immigrant population. Knowledge predicts for greater screening intent. Therefore, implementing language- and culture-specific educational programs involving medical practitioners and media are necessary to improve CRC screening participation rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-610
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Ethnicity
  • Knowledge
  • Perception
  • Screening


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