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Keywords:

  • colorectal cancer;
  • screening;
  • faecal immunochemical test;
  • flexible sigmoidoscopy;
  • noncompliance

Abstract

Screening programmes based on single modality testing may prevent individuals with a preference for a different test from participating. We conducted a population-based trial to determine whether nonparticipants in flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) screening were willing to attend faecal immunochemical test (FIT) screening. In total, 8,407 subjects were invited in a primary FS screening programme. Invitees did not know at the time of FS invitation that nonparticipants would be offered FIT screening. A total of 4,407 nonparticipants of FS screening were invited for FIT screening (cut-off 50 ng haemoglobin/ml). The participation rate to FS screening was 31% [95% confidence interval (CI): 30–32%]. Among the FS nonparticipants 25% (CI: 24–26%) did attended FIT screening. The participation rate of the two-stage recruitment for FS and FIT screening was 45% (CI: 44–46%). FIT screenees were older (p = 0.02), more often women (p < 0.001) and had a lower social economic status (p = 0.01) than FS screenees. The detection rate (DR) for advanced adenoma was 3.5% (CI: 2.5–4.8%), and for colorectal cancer (CRC) it was 0.3% (CI: 0.1–0.8%) among participants to FIT screening. The DR of the two-stage recruitment was 6.1% (n = 202) for an advanced adenoma and 0.5% (n = 16) for a CRC. In conclusion, offering FIT screening to nonparticipants in a FS screening programme increases the overall participation rate considerably, as a quarter of nonparticipants of FS screening was willing to attend FIT screening. The participation rate remains lower for primary FIT screening in the same population (62%). Women in the target population were more likely to refuse FS than FIT screening. Countries introducing FS screening should be aware of these preferences.