A study looking at how the result of a test used in bowel cancer screening influences people's health decisions

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer





This study is finding out how people respond to possible bowel health issues after a negative bowel cancer screening Open a glossary item result, to develop information to help people. This study is supported by Cancer Research UK, as part of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI).

Many bowel cancers are now being picked up by the bowel screening programme.  Screening means looking for early signs of a disease in healthy people who do not have symptoms. Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to work.

The screening programme tests stool samples for hidden blood, and the results are sent to you by post. If there is blood in your sample, you then have an appointment with a specialist nurse. But the test does not pick up all bowel cancers and it is important that people who get a bowel cancer screening result that does not show any blood continue to be aware of the importance of responding promptly to any signs or symptoms of bowel cancer.

Researchers in this study are interested in people whose screening test did not show any blood (a negative result). They want to find out how taking part in the bowel screening programme may have affected peoples’ understanding and reaction to symptoms after having had this negative result. They will talk to people who tested negative, including people who later developed bowel cancer (and to a health professional caring for them). They will try to work out how a negative result affected each person’s actions regarding bowel health afterwards.

They want the information to help them develop ways to raise public awareness of important symptoms that show you may need to visit your GP, and to help doctors diagnose bowel cancer earlier.

Who can enter

You cannot volunteer to take part in this study. It is recruiting people who have taken part in the bowel cancer screening programme, through the Dundee and Rugby screening centres. If you are suitable for the study, and a health professional is happy that you are able to decide whether or not to join, a member of the team will contact you to ask if you would like to take part. People taking part will have had a screening result that did not show any blood and be in one of the following situations

  • Have recently been diagnosed with bowel cancer or
  • Have not been diagnosed with bowel cancer

Trial design

This study will recruit about 100 people.  You will either have an interview, or join a discussion group, depending on whether or not you have been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you will be interviewed by a member of the research team. They will ask questions to try to find out more about

  • How you first responded to your bowel cancer symptoms
  • Your first visit to a health professional
  • The bowel cancer tests you had
  • Your referral to a specialist
  • Any delays there might have been

They would also like to know whether having had a negative bowel screening result made any difference to the action you took.

The research team will also put similar questions to your GP, or another health professional looking after you. They will not tell this person anything about what you have said.

If you have not been diagnosed with bowel cancer since your screening, you will join one of 6 small discussion groups with other people in the same situation. In the group, you will talk about things such as

  • What people understand a negative bowel screening test to mean
  • The limitations of the bowel screening test
  • How people react to symptoms of bowel cancer after getting a negative result
  • How the Health Service can best provide information to address misunderstandings about screening and symptoms

The team will audio record the interviews and group discussions. They will treat all the information anonymously, so no one will be able to link the results to you.

Hospital visits

The team will agree with you a suitable time to hold the discussion groups.  They will either be held in the local GP surgery or at the screening centres in Dundee or Coventry, depending on which is most convenient. The discussion group will last about an hour.

If you have an interview, this will be at home or somewhere else convenient for you. The interview will last between 40 and 60 minutes.

Side effects

You will not have any side effects as a result of taking part in this study. But you may find talking about your experiences upsetting. The researchers will make sure that the group discussions do not become too personal. And you will be able to pull out of the group discussion or interview at any time.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Christine Campbell

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI)
University of Edinburgh

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 10582

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Alan took part in a clinical trial for bowel cancer patients

A picture of ALan

“I think it’s essential that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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