Sample preference for colorectal cancer screening tests: Blood or stool?


Objective: Despite the high prevalence of CRC and the proven benefits of faecal sampling tests, participation rates in CRC screening are suboptimal. Literature has identified a number of barriers to participation, including faecal aversion. Emerging test technologies suggest blood-based molecular markers might provide an alternative, more acceptable option, for CRC screening tests. We aim to determine preference for blood compared to faeces as the sample for the screening test. Methods: A survey was mailed to 956 South Australians aged 50 to 74 years. Data were collected on sample preference, demographic variables, and ratings of screening test convenience and comfort. Results: The survey yielded a 43% response rate. The majority of participants preferred to provide a blood sample (78% v 22%, p < 0.001). Women were more likely to prefer blood than men (82% vs 74%, p = 0.05). Sample experience influenced preferences, with a significantly higher preference for faeces among participants with experience in faecal sampling (27% vs 17% with no experience, p < 0.05). Participants who preferred to provide a faecal sample rated it significantly more convenient (p < 0.001), more comfortable (p < 0.001), and more acceptable (p < 0.001) than those who preferred blood sampling. Conclusions: Survey participants overwhelmingly indicate a preference for the idea of a blood sample over a faecal sample for CRC screening. Preference was influenced by gender, experience with sampling method and the individual’s perception of sampling convenience, sampling comfort and sample acceptability. Our results suggest population participation rates are likely to improve with blood-based screening tests.

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Osborne, J. , Wilson, C. , Moore, V. , Gregory, T. , Flight, I. and Young, G. (2012) Sample preference for colorectal cancer screening tests: Blood or stool?. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2, 326-331. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2012.23047.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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