Informed decision making is recognized as important in screening. Invitees should be provided with relevant information, enabling them to make an informed decision. This may be more difficult in ethnic minority and low socio-economic status groups. We aimed to assess the proportion of informed decisions to participate in a faecal immunochemical test (FIT)-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening pilot and to explore differences in knowledge and attitude across various subgroups.
Asymptomatic persons aged 50–74 were invited to a second round of a Dutch FIT-based pilot screening programme for CRC. An information leaflet containing all information relevant to enable informed decision making accompanied the invitation. Informed choice was assessed by a mailed questionnaire. Knowledge was elicited through 18 items and attitude towards screening through four items. Main outcome measure was the proportion of informed decision makers among participants. Differences between subgroups were evaluated using logistic regression.
Of 5367 screening participants, 2774 (52%) completed the questionnaire. Knowledge was adequate in 2554 (92%); 2736 (99%) showed a positive attitude towards screening. A total of 2525 persons had made an informed choice (91%); male gender, low education level, non-Dutch ethnicity and not speaking Dutch at home were negatively associated with having adequate knowledge in multivariable analysis.
In FIT-based screening for CRC, the majority of responders made an informed decision to participate. However, we did not succeed in equally providing all population subgroups with sufficient information. Future initiatives should be aimed at reaching these groups to further enable informed decision making.