Self-testing for cancer: a community survey

Sue Wilson, Angela V. Ryan, Sheila M. Greenfield, Sue C. Clifford, Roger L. Holder, Helen M. Pattison, David A. Fitzmaurice, Richard J. McManus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Cancer-related self-tests are currently available to buy in pharmacies or over the internet, including tests for faecal occult blood, PSA and haematuria. Self-tests have potential benefits (e.g. convenience) but there are also potential harms (e.g. delays in seeking treatment). The extent of cancer-related self-test use in the UK is not known. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of cancer-related self-test use. Methods: Adults (n = 5,545) in the West Midlands were sent a questionnaire that collected socio-demographic information and data regarding previous and potential future use of 18 different self-tests. Prevalence rates were directly standardised to the England population. The postcode based Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004 was used as aproxy measure of deprivation. Results: 2,925 (54%) usable questionnaires were returned. 1.2% (95% CI 0.83% to 1.66%) of responders reported having used a cancer related self test kit and a further 36% reported that they would consider using one in the future. Logistic regression analyses suggest that increasing age, deprivation category and employment status were associated with cancer-related self-test kit use. Conclusion: We conclude that one in 100 of the adult population have used a cancer-related self-test kit and over a third would consider using one in the future. Self-test kit use could alter perceptions of risk, cause psychological morbidity and impact on the demand for healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102
Pages (from-to)102
JournalBMC Cancer
Volume8
Issue number102
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2008

Bibliographical note

© 2008 Wilson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • self-test
  • faecal occult blood
  • PSA
  • haematuria
  • UK

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    Wilson, S., Ryan, A. V., Greenfield, S. M., Clifford, S. C., Holder, R. L., Pattison, H. M., Fitzmaurice, D. A., & McManus, R. J. (2008). Self-testing for cancer: a community survey. BMC Cancer, 8(102), 102. [102]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-8-102