A study looking at a way to support people as they make a decision whether to have bowel scope screening

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

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer

Status:

Closed

Phase:

Pilot

This study is looking at a way to support people as they make a decision to go for bowel scope screening or not.

More about this trial

Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage when treatment is more likely to work. In the UK, the NHS Bowel Screening Programme uses Faecal Occult Blood Testing to test poo (stool or faeces) for hidden traces of blood. Blood in the poo can be a sign of bowel cancer.

The NHS Bowel Screening Programme is also introducing bowel scope screening for people who are aged 55. The bowel scope (or flexible sigmoidoscopy) is a test that looks at the lower part of the bowel and back passage (rectum). Screening with this test aims to find any small growths or polyps which may develop into cancer if left untreated. It can also pick up cancers if they have already developed.

For bowel screening to be effective, a large number of people need to take up the offer of screening. The proportion of people who complete their stool testing kit is quite low. Around 54 out of every 100 (54%) men and women complete their stool testing kit and send it back for testing.

Researchers think the acceptance of bowel scope screening by the public could be as low as completing the stool testing kit. So it is important to develop ways to support people when they are invited for bowel scope screening and to increase the number of people who go for this test.

One way to do this could be for a bowel screening nurse (also known as a Specialist Screening Practitioner) to contact people who did not confirm or attend their appointment for bowel scope screening. In this trial, some people will be contacted by a bowel screening nurse (nurse intervention) while others will not.

This is a feasibility study. The researchers want to find out if it is possible to carry out similar research with a larger number of people in the future. The aims of this study are to

  • Find out if people are willing to be contacted by a bowel screening nurse
  • Learn more about why people don’t take part in bowel scope screening
  • Find out if the intervention increases the number of people who go for bowel scope screening
  • Find out how much it would cost to run the intervention as part of the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme

Who can enter

You may be able to join this study if you live in an area served by the South Tyneside NHS Trust and you are due to have bowel scope screening. You cannot volunteer to take part in this study. If you are eligible, you will receive a letter inviting you to take part. This letter will be delivered alongside your bowel scope screening invitation letter.

Trial design

This is a feasibility study. The researchers need about 400 people to take part.

If you live in the South Tyneside area and you are due to have bowel scope screening you will receive a letter about this study alongside your invitation letter for screening, a few weeks before you get your appointment letter.

The study letter will ask if you are willing to be contacted by a bowel screening nurse if you later do not confirm or attend your appointment for the bowel scope screening. If you are willing to take part, you will need to send your contact details back to the study team by post.

If you do not want to take part in this study then you don’t need to do anything. But if possible, the study team would like you to complete the enclosed ‘No thank you’ postcard and select a reason for not taking part, or write your own reason on the card. This will help the researchers when they plan future studies. The postcard cannot be linked back to you.

This is a randomised trial. People who agree to take part are put into separate groups by a computer. You will not be able to decide which group you are in. Of those people who do not go for bowel scope screening when invited

  • One group will be telephoned by a bowel screening nurse to discuss their decision (intervention)
  • The other group will have ‘usual care’ which means they will not be contacted by a bowel screening nurse (the control group Open a glossary item)

If you receive a telephone call, the bowel screening nurse will provide you with information about bowel scope screening. You can ask any questions you have. You can discuss your reasons for not going for your bowel scope if you want and any worries or concerns you may have. Having the opportunity to discuss the test may help you to decide one way or the other. If you do decide to have bowel scope screening, the nurse can arrange this for you.

The nurse will ask your permission to audio record the conversation. The study team will treat everything you tell them as confidential Open a glossary item. All your personal details will be removed from the information you provide. No one will be able to link the results to you.

At the end of the study, people in both groups will receive a letter from the study team. In this letter, the study team will confirm which group you were part of and you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire. This will ask you about your views of bowel scope screening.

Hospital visits

There are no hospital visits associated with taking part in this trial. A letter asking you to take part will be sent in the post to your home alongside your  screening invitation letter. If you are contacted by the bowel screening nurse they will use the contact details you have provided and you can arrange another time to talk if that is more convenient for you.

Side effects

If you receive a phone call from the bowel screening nurse, you may be asked questions that you find quite personal or sensitive. The nurse will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible and will emphasise that you don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to.

You may not benefit directly from taking part in this study. If you have the opportunity to discuss bowel scope screening with a nurse you may find this helps you reach a decision about going for screening.

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 Christian von Wagner

Supported by

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
University College London (UCL)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 13344

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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