Published online Jul 21, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i27.3963
Peer-review started: March 26, 2020
First decision: April 25, 2020
Revised: May 6, 2020
Accepted: July 4, 2020
Article in press: July 4, 2020
Published online: July 21, 2020
The Korea National Cancer Screening Program currently provides screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) for adults older than 50 years with no upper age limit. In general, people are likely to only pay attention to the benefits of cancer screening and to neglect its risks. Most consider the benefits of cancer screening as being far greater than the risks and are unaware that any potential benefits and harms can vary with age.
To report acceptance of an upper age limit for CRC screening and factors associated therewith among cancer-free individuals in Korea.
The present study analyzed data from the Korea National Cancer Screening Survey 2017, a nationally representative random sample of 4500 Korean individuals targeted for screening for the five most common types of cancer. A total of 1922 participants were included in the final analysis. The baseline characteristics of the study population are presented as unweighted numbers and weighted proportions. Both univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were developed to examine factors related with acceptance of an upper age limit for CRC screening; subgroup analysis was also applied.
About 80% (1554/1922) of the respondents agreed that CRC screening should not be offered for individuals older than 80 years. Specifically, those who had never been screened for CRC had the highest acceptance rate (91%). Overall, screening history for CRC [screened by both fecal occult blood test and colonoscopy, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.33, 95%CI: 0.22-0.50] and other cancers (aOR = 0.55, 95%CI: 0.34-0.87), as well as a family history of cancer (aOR = 0.66, 95%CI: 0.50-0.87), were negatively associated with acceptance of an upper age limit for CRC screening. In contrast, metropolitan residents (aOR = 1.86, 95%CI: 1.29-2.68) and people who exercised regularly (aOR = 1.42, 95%CI: 1.07-1.89) were more likely to accept an upper age limit. After subgrouping, we found gender, marital status, and lifetime smoking history among never-screened individuals and residential region, family history of cancer, and physical activity among never-screened individuals to be associated with acceptance of an upper age limit.
This study describes acceptance of an upper age limit for CRC screening and factors associated with it, and provides perspectives that should be considered, in addition to scientific evidence, when developing population-based cancer screening policies and programs.
Core tip: Although several guidelines recommend setting an upper age for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, there is a lack of information on perceptions and acceptance thereof. By analyzing data from a national representative survey in South Korea, we were able to determine the acceptance of an upper age limit for CRC screening and factors associated therewith among cancer-free individuals targeted for screening in South Korea.