More than one-third of Queensland men have never been screened for prostate, colorectal or skin cancer, according to cancer researchers.
Screening for colorectal cancer currently has stronger scientific evidence for reducing the risk of death than screening for prostate or skin cancer, but a new study in the Medical Journal of Australia has found that fewer Queensland men undergo the colorectal cancer test than the other two.
Dr Monika Janda, a senior research fellow at the School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, and colleagues, examined uptake of screening and reasons for use amongst Queensland men.
They found men who participate in cancer screening tend to be older, white, living with a partner, and to have private health insurance.
'Smokers were less likely to be screened with any of the three screening tests,' says Dr Janda.
Dr Janda suggests the low uptake of colorectal screening is due to a number of factors including inconvenience, unpleasantness of the procedure, anxiety over cost, and cultural beliefs and attitudes.
As previous participation in a cancer test has been associated with continued screening, the more common prostate cancer screening encounter could present an opportunity to encourage men to take a colorectal cancer test, says Dr Janda.
'Given the association with being married ... promotion programs could also seek to involve these men's partners to increase participation in (colorectal) cancer screening.'