A study to identify why people decide not to take part in bowel scope screening (Study 1)

Cancer type:

Bowel (colorectal) cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Other

In this study researchers wanted to find out why some people decide not to take part in the bowel scope screening programme. It was supported by Cancer Research UK

The research team are also looking at what people think about having screening, before they are offered the test. This is called Study 2 and we have more information about it on the link below.

A study to identify the attitudes and beliefs that influence people to take part in bowel scope screening (Study 2)

More about this trial

When this study was done, some people in England were invited to take part in the bowel scope screening programme at age 55.

This test uses a thin flexible tube with a camera on the end to look inside the large bowel. It is called a flexible sigmoidoscopy or flexi scope (sometimes shortened to flexisig). 

It looks for small growths in the bowel called polyps. They are not cancerous, but can develop into bowel cancer if left to grow. It can also find cancer which is likely to be at an early stage.

In this study researchers wanted to look at the attitudes and understanding of people who decided to take part, and those who decided not to. 

The main aim of Study 1 was to find out why some people had decided not to take part in the bowel scope screening programme.

Summary of results

This study recruited 1,478 people who had already been invited to take part in the bowel scope screening programme. Of these, about 8 out of 10 people (81%) had been for screening. And about 2 out of 10 people (19%) had decided not to go.
 
The people taking part completed a questionnaire which included questions about things such as:
  • their gender, ethnic group and level of education
  • level of deprivation – a combination of factors such as health, income, employment, crime levels and housing
  • whether they had read the information they’d been given about the screening programme
  • how much they knew and understood about the aim of the screening programme
  • whether they responded to the invitation or not
  • why some people decided not to go for screening
Attending screening
The research team found that there were 3 groups of people who decided not to go for screening:
  • non responders – people who didn’t reply to the invitation
  • non attenders – people who replied to say they would go but didn’t attend the appointment
  • active decliners – people who replied to say they weren’t going
Information
The research team found that more than 7 out of 10 people (76%) had read the information about the screening programme. People who didn’t have screening and men were less likely to have read the information.
 
Knowledge
The research team asked everyone questions about the bowel scope screening programme. They could answer with one of the following:
  • true
  • false
  • not sure
The number of correct answers ranged from less than 1 out of 10 (9%) to more than 9 out of 10 (92%). The research team then gave everyone a score from 0 to 9. The average score was 5.1.
 
The people who scored higher were generally those who:
  • had decided to go for screening
  • had read the information
  • had a higher level of education
  • were less deprived
Reasons not to go
The reasons people gave for deciding not to go were different for different groups. The most common reasons for each group were:
  • it would be too embarrassing (non responders)
  • they didn’t want or couldn’t have an enema to empty the bowel before the scope (non attenders)
  • they didn’t think they needed the test - some had had a similar test recently (active decliners)
Conclusion
The team concluded there were differences in knowledge and understanding between those who decided to go for screening and those who didn’t. They suggest that the information needs to be at a level that everyone can understand. This is important so that everyone can make an informed decision about whether to attend or not.
 
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us about this study has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal.  The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves. 
 

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

Cancer Research UK
University College London (UCL)

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 11738

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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