The article discusses the psychological barriers that contribute to low rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Many Americans, over 40%, are skipping standard CRC screening due to negative emotional associations with the disease and the tests involved. Fear, embarrassment, and disgust associated with CRC and its screening tests lead to denial and defensiveness, causing individuals to put off screening and hope for the best. Although there are various screening options available, such as colonoscopy, stool-based tests, and direct visualization tests, the overall CRC screening rates remain below the target percentage.
Practical challenges, like the invasiveness and time commitment of colonoscopy, deter individuals from undergoing screening. Additionally, the overwhelming number of screening options may lead some to disengage. Psychological barriers, rooted in fear of the disease, pain, complications, and burden on family and friends, contribute to the avoidance of CRC screening. Efforts are needed to address these barriers and increase the number of people getting screened for colorectal cancer.