Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: There has been interest in using the non-invasive, home-based quantitative faecal immunochemical test (FIT) to rule out colorectal cancer (CRC) in high-risk symptomatic patients. Aim: To elicit public preferences for FIT versus colonoscopy (CC) and its delivery in primary care. Design & setting: A cross-sectional online survey in England. Method: A total of 1057 adults (without CRC symptoms and diagnosis) aged 40-59 years were invited from an English online survey panel. Responders were asked to imagine they had been experiencing CRC symptoms that would qualify them for a diagnostic test. Participants were presented with choices between CC and FIT in ascending order of number of CRCs missed by FIT (from 1-10%). It was measured at what number of missed CRCs responders preferred CC over FIT. Results: While 150 participants did not want either of the tests when both missed 1% CRCs, the majority (n = 741, 70.0%) preferred FIT to CC at that level of accuracy. However, this preference reduced to 427 (40.4%) when FIT missed one additional cancer. Women were more likely to tolerate missing CRC when using FIT. Having lower numeracy and perceiving a higher level of risk meant participants were less likely to tolerate a false negative test. Most of those who chose FIT preferred to return it by mail (62.2%), to be informed about normal test results by letter (42.1%), and about abnormal test results face to face (32.5%). Conclusion: While the majority of participants preferred FIT over CC when both tests had the same sensitivity, tolerance for missed CRCs was low.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date