BETHESDA, Md.—New research about why people forego colorectal cancer (CRC) screening suggests that three fears play a significant role; fear of embarrassment, fear of getting AIDS and fear of pain may make some seniors skip the potentially lifesaving tests.
The strongest predictor of unwillingness to participate in screening was fear of embarrassment during a screening. Fear of getting AIDS, which prior studies have suggested revolve around the insertion of medical devices into the rectum, was the second strongest. Fear of pain was also associated with a reluctance to participate in screening.
This information is according to an article in the American Journal of Health Promotion, by Milly Dawson, a contributing writer. The article information was distributed by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health
“We found that people who feared that they might get AIDS, feared feeling embarrassed during the screening exam, those who were older, and those with only a high school education were more unwilling to get screened," said lead author Shalanda Bynum, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
While earlier research has shown that barriers to CRC screening include factors such as income and race/ethnicity, this study, in the American Journal of Health Promotion, sought to explore not only those factors but also psychosocial ones. It is one of the few studies to also address the influence of a person’s mistrust of medical providers and misconceptions, such as the notion that CRC screening might cause AIDS.