Public preferences for using quantitative faecal immunochemical test versus colonoscopy as diagnostic test for colorectal cancer: Evidence from an online survey
von Wagner C., Verstraete W., Hirst Y., Nicholson BD., Stoffel ST., Laszlo H.
© 2020, The Authors. 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.