Designing an Effective Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in Egypt: A Qualitative Study of Perceptions of Egyptian Primary Care Physicians and Specialists

Academic Article


  • Background: In Egypt more than one-third of colorectal cancer (CRC) cases occur in individuals aged 40 years and younger, and are diagnosed at advanced stages; currently, CRC screening is not done as a routine part of preventive care. To lay the foundation for the development of a CRC multilevel screening program in Egypt, this qualitative study aimed to explore the perspectives of Egyptian physicians. Materials and Methods: The PRECEDE-PROCEED model, which focuses on predisposing (intrapersonal), reinforcing (interpersonal), and enabling (structural) factors inherent in health behaviors, served as our theoretical framework. Primary health care physicians, oncologists, and gastroenterologists practicing in Alexandria, Egypt, participated in 1 one-hour semistructured interview. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, translated into English, and analyzed by thematic analysis. Results: Seventeen physicians participated (n = 8 specialists and n = 9 primary care physicians). Barriers to CRC screening included socioeconomic status, a lack of emphasis on prevention, fear, and cost (predisposing); a belief that only high risk patients should be screened and a lack of confidence in providers to perform and interpret screening tests appropriately (reinforcing); and cost, lack of availability of the tests, and inadequate training for laboratory technicians and providers (enabling). Potential facilitators included implementing a media campaign emphasizing early detection, curability and prevention (predisposing); educating physicians and eliciting physician engagement (reinforcing); and decreasing costs, making screening tests widely available, and providing well-trained providers (enabling). Conclusion: A CRC screening program is needed in Egypt, and to be successful it would likely need to address barriers at multiple levels. Implications for Practice: In Egypt, colorectal screening is not a routine part of preventive care, and colorectal cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage in individuals aged 40 years or younger. Screening can prevent and detect colorectal cancer in its early stages, but before designing any screening program, understanding the context is important as cultural beliefs may impact the acceptability of screening methods. By exploring the perspectives of Egyptian physicians, this study found important insights into how screening program components should be considered in the Egyptian culture and lays the foundation for the development of a multilevel colorectal screening program in Egypt.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28233540
  • Author List

  • Brand Bateman L; Khamess S; Abdelmoneim SE; Arafat W; Fouad MN; Khamis Y; Omar A; Abdelmoneim RS; Scarinci I
  • Start Page

  • e1525
  • End Page

  • e1531
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 10