Behavioural Challenges Associated With Risk-Adapted Cancer Screening.
Cancer screening programmes have a major role in reducing cancer incidence and mortality. Traditional internationally-adopted protocols have been to invite all 'eligible individuals' for the same test at the same frequency. However, as highlighted in Cancer Research UK's 2020 strategic vision, there are opportunities to increase effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, and reduce harms of screening programmes, by making recommendations on the basis of personalised estimates of risk. In some respects, this extends current approaches of providing more intensive levels of care outside screening programmes to individuals at very high risk due to their family history or underlying conditions. However, risk-adapted colorectal cancer screening raises a wide range of questions, not only about how best to change existing programmes but also about the psychological and behavioural effects that these changes might have. Previous studies in other settings provide some important information but remain to be tested and explored further in the context of colorectal screening. Conducting behavioural science research in parallel to clinical research will ensure that risk-adapted screening is understood and accepted by the population that it aims to serve.