Evaluation of prevention behaviour and its influencing factors with respect to cancer screening


Every year, about 4.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer in Europe. However, based on preclinical changes and using appropriate examination procedures certain cancers can be detected in symptom-free patients at an early stage and treatment initiated. In Germany, various cancer screening examinations are currently offered to the relevant age groups and sexes free of charge. Participation rates are affected by a number of factors and barriers. The study aimed at identifying potential obstacles and barriers to uptake, taking into account demographic and socio-economic variables.

Materials and methods

Data collection was conducted in the context of routine examination appointments at the City of Kiel Occupational Health Department from September 2013 to September 2014 using an anonymised questionnaire. In addition to recording socio-demographic data and tobacco consumption, the questionnaire also catalogued participation in statutory health insurance cancer screening examinations using the "stages of change" from the Transtheoretical Model. Eight potential barriers to participation were recorded.


The results are based on 718 completed questionnaires. It was found that women, older age, and non-smoking status were associated with a higher probability of participating in cancer screening. It was also found that various barriers affecting (regular) participation were perceived significantly different according to the individual stages of change. This influence of the stages was moderated by gender.


The results showed interesting trends in the different barriers and how they are influenced by socioeconomic factors and the stages of change. Especially the stages require different gender-specific approaches to mobilisation for cancer screening.


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