Anne Miles of Birkbeck, University of London, said those who feel screenings wouldn't help, or they were going to die of cancer anyway, often failed to comply with screening recommendations -- what psychologists call cancer fatalism.
"In England, the screenings are free and the subsequent health treatments are free as well, yet people of lower socioeconomic status still do not get screened," Miles said in a statement. "We wanted to find out what else was going on."
Miles and colleagues analyzed data from 529 adults age 60-69 who completed surveys measuring their socioeconomic status, self-rated health and rate of cancer fatalism. The measures were correlated against the rate of fecal occult blood testing.
The study found men and women with higher socioeconomic status, better self-rated health and lower cancer fatalism were 56 percent more likely than others to undergo the fecal occult blood colorectal cancer screening.
The findings were published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.