“I think it’s essential that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”
A trial looking at what people think of the information they receive about the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
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This trial was looking at what people thought about the information they received about the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.
Everyone between the ages of 60 and 74 in England will receive an invitation to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. This includes a letter of invitation and a booklet about the programme with a kit to collect a tiny amount of stool (faeces).
However the number of people taking part was not as good as expected. So the organisers looked at ways to improve the number of people who took part.
This trial looked at sending out extra information and a letter from the GP to see if this would improve the number of people who took part.
Summary of results
The study team found that a letter from the GP and extra information about how to collect the specimen did increase the number of people who took part.
The study team contacted 1,288 people before they received their invitation to take part in the NHS Bowel Screening Programme with the sampling kit. The team then put them into 4 groups of 322 each. With their invitation and sampling kit the people in
- Group 1 got a letter signed by their GP giving their support to the programme
- Group 2 got a leaflet explaining in detail how to collect and store the stool sample
- Group 3 got the GP letter and the leaflet
People in group 4 received the standard invitation to take part.
Twenty weeks after the people had received their invitation, the study team looked at how many in each group had returned their sample. Of the 322 people in each group,
- 177 in group 1 had returned it
- 178 in group 2 had returned it
- 197 in group 3 had returned it
- 159 in group 4 had returned it
Of the 1,288 people who could have received a sampling kit, 78 had decided not to.
The study team concluded that the number taking part could increase by about another 10 out of 100 people (10%) if a letter from their GP and a leaflet was included in the invitation.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the study. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Primary Care Research Networks
University of Oxford