Attitudes Towards and Beliefs about Colorectal Cancer and Screening using the Faecal Occult Blood Test within the Italian-Australian Community


Studies with minority ethnic communities worldwide reveal important differences in the content of beliefsabout cancer and attitudes towards screening. Current initiatives in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening highlightthe importance of identifying any illness-specific beliefs that might influence participation rates within thetargeted age-range. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 20 Italian-Australians aged between 50 and78 years, living in Adelaide, South Australia. Qualitative data from the interviews were analysed using frameworkanalysis. Participants articulated specific beliefs about the nature of cancer, risk factors, prevention possibilities,and variety of potential barriers and benefits to faecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Although participants’beliefs overlapped with conventional medical models of cancer, the results also demonstrated the presence ofspecific cultural perceptions that might influence FOBT participation. Our results suggest that models used toinform communication about cancer need to be sensitive to culture specific concerns. Within the context of theolder Italian-Australian community, there is a suggestion that self and response efficacy may be serious barriersto screening behavior and that bi-lingual, verbal delivery of information may be the most effective mode ofcommunication to increase screening participation.