Assessing Knowledge and Perceptions of Colorectal Cancer Screening in Armenia

Colorectal Cancer

J Surg Res. 2020 Sep 16;257:616-624. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2020.08.038. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Armenia has a high incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer (CRC). No organized screening programs for CRC exist in Armenia. This study seeks to evaluate knowledge of and attitudes toward CRC and screening programs in Armenia.

METHODS: Adults aged 40-64 y were administered a survey using convenience sampling throughout polyclinics in Yerevan city. Survey questions were based on the Health Belief Model and were translated and modified for local relevance.

RESULTS: A total of 368 surveys were completed. Eighty-four percent had knowledge of CRC, 91% believed that early detection leads to improved outcomes, but only 22% had knowledge of screening. Women were more likely to have knowledge of CRC (odds ratio 2.19, P < 0.05). Although 19% have personally worried about having CRC, only 7% admitted to discussing their worries with a provider and 76% were willing to undergo screening if recommended by their doctor. Seventy-eight percent of respondents would only undergo screening if free or less than ~$20 USD.

CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported knowledge of CRC is high, whereas knowledge of screening remains low in Armenia. There is a willingness to undergo screening if recommended by a health care professional; however, this willingness is cost-sensitive. Interventions aimed at (1) increasing awareness of the disease and screening tests, (2) improving physician counseling, and (3) reducing financial barriers to screening should be considered along with the implementation of a national screening program in