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The association between long-term conditions and uptake of population-based screening for colorectal cancer: results from two English cohort studies

Authors Kearns B, Chilcott J, Relton C, Whyte S, Woods HB, Nickerson C, Loban A

Received 5 October 2017

Accepted for publication 25 December 2017

Published 28 March 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 637—645


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kenan Onel

Benjamin Kearns,1 Jim Chilcott,1 Clare Relton,1 Sophie Whyte,1 Helen Buckley Woods,1 Claire Nickerson,2 Amanda Loban1

1School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; 2Cancer Screening Programmes, Public Health England, Sheffield, UK

Uptake of screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) can reduce mortality, and population-based screening is offered in England. To date, there is little evidence on the association between having a long-term condition (LTC) and CRC screening uptake. The objective of this study was to examine the association between having an LTC and uptake of CRC screening in England with the guaiac fecal occult blood test, with a particular focus on common mental disorders.
Methods: The study was a preregistered secondary analysis of two cohorts: first, a linked data set between the regional Yorkshire Health Study (YHS) and the National Health Service National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (BCSP, years 2006–2014); second, the national English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA, years 2014–2015). Individuals eligible for BCSP screening who participated in either the YHS (7,142) or ELSA Wave 7 (4,099) were included. Study registration:, number NCT02503969.
Results: In both the cohorts, diabetes was associated with lower uptake (YHS odds ratio [OR] for non-uptake 1.35, 95% CI 1.03–1.78; ELSA 1.33, 1.03–1.72) and osteoarthritis was associated with increased uptake (YHS 0.75, 0.57–0.99; ELSA 0.76, 0.62–0.93). After controlling for broader determinants of health, there was no evidence of significantly different uptake for individuals with common mental disorders.
Conclusion: Two large independent cohorts provided evidence that uptake of CRC screening is lower among individuals with diabetes and higher among individuals with osteoarthritis. Further work should compare barriers and facilitators to screening among individuals with either of these conditions. This study also demonstrates the benefits of data linkage for improving clinical decision-making.

Keywords: colorectal cancer, fecal occult blood test, population screening, uptake, depression, anxiety

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