Acceptability of receiving lifestyle advice at cervical, breast and bowel cancer screening

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Cancer screening could be an opportunity to deliver cancer prevention advice, but it is not known how such information would be received. We explored willingness to receive lifestyle advice in the context of the English National Health Service cervical, breast, and bowel (FS; flexible sigmoidoscopy) screening programmes. A population-based survey was conducted in 2016 to collect nationally representative data on willingness to receive lifestyle advice across cervical (n = 768), breast (n = 420) and FS (n = 308) screening programmes. Additional items assessed the impact of lifestyle advice on screening attendance, preference for receiving advice in the event of an abnormal screening result, and timing of advice. Most respondents were willing to receive lifestyle advice around the time of cancer screening (cervical 78.9%, breast 79.4%, FS 81.8%), and if their results were abnormal (cervical 86.3%, breast 83.0%, FS 85.1%). A small proportion indicated it may discourage future attendance (cervical 4.9%, breast 7.0%, FS 8.8%). Most preferred information to be delivered at the screening appointment (cervical 69.8%, breast 72.6%, FS 70.7%). There were no associations between sociodemographic characteristics and willingness to receive lifestyle advice at breast screening. For those intending to attend cervical screening, non-White ethnicity and higher education were associated with increased willingness to receive lifestyle advice. Women were more likely to be willing to receive advice at FS screening than men. Providing lifestyle advice at cancer screening is likely to be acceptable to the general population. The optimal approach for delivery needs careful consideration to minimise potential negative effects on screening attendance.




Stevens, C., Vrinten, C., Smith, S. G., Waller, J., & Beeken, R. J. (2019). Acceptability of receiving lifestyle advice at cervical, breast and bowel cancer screening. Preventive Medicine, 120, 19–25.

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