Fear of cancer may have unwanted effect on public screening uptake

the ONA take:

People who worry about developing cancer are more likely to want to undergo screening for colon cancer; however, according to new research from the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL, that fear makes them less likely to actually go for the test.

Research to date has used a combined measure of cancer fear, which does not explain how fear results in such different actions. In this study, the researchers distinguished different aspects of fear to see whether it had different effects on people’s decisions about cancer screening.

Approximately 2,000 participants were randomized to receive a screening invitation. Clinical records show that 71% actually attended; 68% of those who reported feeling uncomfortable thinking about cancer attended screening, compared with 77% of those who did not feel uncomfortable.

The research findings suggest that public service announcements about colon cancer screening need to focus more on the preventive value of screening than increasing public fear of cancer.

Fear of cancer may have unwanted effect on public screening uptake
People who worry about developing cancer are more likely to want to undergo screening for colon cancer.
People who worry about cancer are more likely to want to get screened for colon cancer, but feeling uncomfortable at the thought of cancer makes them less likely to actually go for the test, finds new UCL-led research.
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