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Pioneering Annual Colorectal Cancer Screening and Treatment Targeting Low Income Communities in Malaysia (2010-2015)

  • Tze, Christina Ng Van (EMPOWERED - The Cancer Advocacy Society of Malaysia) ;
  • Fitzgerald, Henry (Hospital Selayang) ;
  • Qureshi, Akhtar (Sunway Medical Centre) ;
  • Tan, Huck Joo (Sunway Medical Centre) ;
  • Low, May Lee (International Medical University)
  • Published : 2016.07.01

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the rate of uptake of a customised annual Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening and Treatment Project (CCASTP) using faecal immunohistochemical test (FIT) kits in low income communities in Malaysia. The immediate objectives were (1) to evaluate the level of adherence of CRC screening among low-income groups, (2) to assess the knowledge and awareness of the screened population and (3) to assess the accuracy of FIT kits. A total of 1,581 FIT kits were distributed between years 2010 to 2015 to healthy asymptomatic participants of the annual CCASTP organized by Empowered - the Cancer Advocacy Society of Malaysia. Data for socio-demographic characteristics, critical health and lifestyle information of the registered subjects were collected. Findings for use of the FIT kits were collected when they were returned for stool analyses. Those testingd positive were invited to undergo a colonoscopy examination. A total of 1,436 (90.8%) of the subjects retuned the FIT-kits, showing high compliance. Among the 129 subjects with positive FIT results, 92 (71.3%) underwent colonoscopy. Six cases (6.5%) of CRC were found. Based on the data collected, the level of awareness of stool examination and knowledge about CRC was poor amongst the participants. Gender, age group, ethnicity and risk factors (i.e. smoking, lack of exercise and low consumption of fresh fruits) were associated with positive FIT-kit results. In conclusion, CRC screening can be performed in the community with a single FIT-kit. Although CRC knowledge and awareness is poor in low-income communities, the average return rate of the FIT kits and rate of colonoscopy examination were 91.2% and 70.3%, respectively.

Keywords

Colorectal cancer screening;cancer awareness;low-income communities;Malaysia

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