Awareness of lifestyle and colorectal cancer risk: findings from the BeWEL study

Annie S. Anderson (Lead / Corresponding author), Stephen Caswell, Maureen Macleod, Angela M. Craigie, Martine Stead, Robert J. C. Steele

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It is estimated that 47% of colorectal cancers (CRC) could be prevented by appropriate lifestyles. This study aimed to identify awareness of the causes of CRC in patients who had been diagnosed with a colorectal adenoma through the Scottish bowel screening programme and subsequently enrolled in an intervention trial (using diet and physical activity education and behavioural change techniques) (‘BeWEL’).

At baseline and 12 month follow up, participants answered an open-ended question on factors that influenced the development of CRC. Of the 329 participants at baseline 40 (12%) reported that they did not know any risk factors and a further 36 (11%) failed to identify specific factors related to diet and activity. From a potential knowledge score of 1 to 6, the mean score was 1.5 (SD1.1, range 0 to 5) with no difference between intervention and control groups. At follow up, the intervention group had a significantly greater knowledge score as well as better weight loss, diet, and physical activity measures than the control group.

Awareness of relevant lifestyle factors for CRC remains low in people at increased risk of the disease. Opportunities within the routine NHS screening setting to aid the capability (including knowledge of risk factors) of individuals to make effective behavioural changes to reduce CRC risk deserve exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number871613
Number of pages5
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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