World Journal of Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention Volume No 7

Original Article Open Access

An Intervention Service in a UK Asian Community to Promote Participation in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme: Results from the Pilot Study

Nathalie J Massat, Leena Khagram, Judith Shankleman, Sarojini Ariyanayagam, Anna Garner, Sandra Rainbow and Stephen W Duffy
World Journal of Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention 2014, 3:4



Bowel cancer screening uptake is low in inner North-East London, an area characterised by high levels of ethnic diversity and deprivation, and low awareness of the screening programme.Study Design: Here we report on a pilot project providing an intervention in primary care services in the form of telephone contact and health education sessions to explore the impact on faecal occult blood test kit uptake, assess logistical feasibility and estimate formal sample size for a future study.

Material and Method

In 12 general practices in City and Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham, 532 subjects due for their first bowel cancer screening invitation were invited by letter followed-up by a telephone call, to a health education session at their general practice. 3,519 subjects from the remaining 128 practices in these former primary care trusts were not offered this intervention.


Median uptake was 33.8% in the intervention practices and 31.3% in the comparison practices. Within the intervention practices, the odds of uptake were significantly larger for individuals who actually attended the health education sessions (N = 107) compared to those for whom neither face-to-face, nor telephone contact was achieved (OR = 3.4, 95% CI 1.99-5.87, p<0.001). Increase in uptake among individuals who received information by telephone only was not significant (N = 55, OR = 1.7, 95% CI 0.89-3.28, p = 0.1).


Results suggest that it is feasible to change behaviour in relation to bowel cancer screening participation using health education provided by direct contact. A formal intervention trial has since been implemented.


Bowel cancer; screening uptake; guaiac faecal occult blood test (gFOBt).

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