Work in Progress: What Can We Learn About How to Improve Uptake of Bowel Cancer Screening From Higher Rates of Uptake in Breast and Cervical Screening Programmes?


Background: Screening can reduce deaths from cervical, bowel and breast cancer if the people invited participate. Among women in Scotland, uptake of screening is 58% for bowel, compared to 74% for breast, 71% for cervical. Little research has examined why bowel screening fails to achieve the uptake rates of breast and cervical screening. The relative ‘newness’ of the bowel screening programme does not appear to explain the low participation rate. It is therefore important to understand why bowel screening is failing to achieve the uptake rates of breast and cervical screening. Aims: This study aims to compare women’s accounts of the NHS Scotland’s breast, cervical and bowel screening programmes, in order to identify barriers specific to bowel screening. Methods: We will conduct individual semi-structured interviews with 30 to 60 women aged 50 to 60 years. Our purposive sample will include women from areas of high and low deprivation and we will interview women who have participated in all three screening programmes, in none, and in breast and/ or cervical, but not bowel screening. Results: The interview transcripts will be analysed using Framework Analysis, which permits comparisons across pre-identified categories, such as socio-economic deprivation level and uptake patterns, but also allows for additional themes to emerge. Dual-Process Theory will also inform the analysis. Conclusions: The findings of this study will further existing knowledge and inform new approaches to increase uptake of bowel screening

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This paper was published in Enlighten.

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