Identifying modifiable features of home bowel cancer screening kits to facilitate use: consumer perspectives

Research Snapshots of Health Systems and Behavioural Research

What is known?

When bowel cancer is detected via the Australian National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) it can be diagnosed and treated early, resulting in a positive prognosis for those diagnosed. Despite this, only 43.5% of recipients participate in the program.

Many people experience physical challenges when using home bowel cancer screening tests and this can deter them from completing and returning their kit.

In some international screening programs, changes were made to the kits and the process of collecting a stool sample simplified – resulting in increased public participation of the program.

We took a novel approach to this issue and presented some NBCSP kit recipients with nine different bowel cancer screening kits to review. We interviewed them about their preferences and asked what changes could be made to improve the kit and increase their willingness to use it.

What is new?

Participants identified several features of test kits that could be modified for improvement including:

  • Increasing the size of the collection tool, the collection sheet, and the specimen container.
  • Simplifying instructions, packaging and processes.
  • Including masks, gloves and extra layers of protection for stool sample storage to reduce the users’ chance of accidental contact with the stool sample.

What does this mean?

The kit modifications identified through this study have been graphically designed and presented to a panel of consumers for further evaluation.

Those which are feasible and receive the most positive feedback from the panel may be considered for trial within the NBCSP.

Contact: Belinda Goodwin

Reference: Goodwin BC, Viljoen B, Myers L, Ireland MJ, Dunn J, Chambers S, Ralph N, Aitken J. Identifying modifiable features of home bowel cancer screening kits to facilitate use: consumer perspectives. Public Health Research and Practice. 2022. doi:10.17061/phrp32122203.

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