JCO global oncology;
PURPOSE: The Malaysian Ministry of Health had launched free opportunistic screening for colorectal cancer using immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT) targeting the average-risk individuals since 2014. This study aims to determine factors associated with colorectal cancer screening using iFOBT among the average-risk Malaysian population. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted at five government-run health clinics in the state of Selangor. Adults with an average risk of colorectal cancer (age > 50 years, asymptomatic, and no family history of colorectal cancer) were recruited using systematic random sampling. An interviewer-administered questionnaire adapted from the Cancer Awareness Measure and Health Belief Model was used. RESULTS: The median age of participants was 61 years (interquartile range, 56 to 66). Almost 60% of participants indicated their willingness to be screened. However, only 7.5% had undergone iFOBT. Good knowledge of risk factors of colorectal cancer, perceived susceptibility to the disease, and the doctor's recommendation were associated with increased willingness to be screened: adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 1.66 (95% CI, 1.12 to 2.46); aOR, 1.70 (95% CI, 1.08 to 2.70); and aOR, 5.76 (95% CI, 2.13 to 15.57), respectively. Nevertheless, being elderly (aOR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.45 to 0.99) and high negative perception toward the testing method (iFOBT) (aOR, 0.12; 95% CI, 0.05 to 0.30) were independently associated with lower willingness to be screened. Multivariable analysis within the average-risk individuals who were willing to be screened for colorectal cancer showed that the doctor's recommendations remained as an important cue for positive action, whereas negative perception toward the test was a significant barrier to the actual uptake of iFOBT. CONCLUSION: The present findings must be factored in when tailoring colorectal cancer screening promotion activities in multiethnic, middle-income settings.