Decisions and prompts to screen for cervical, bowel and breast cancer

Research Snapshots of Health Systems and Behavioural Research

What is known?

Cancer screenings help save lives, however, despite wanting to, many people don’t regularly keep up to date with their screenings. We wanted to understand more about what prompts and motivates people to stay up to date with their cancer screenings.

What is new?

We explored what makes people screen for breast, bowel, and cervical cancer.

People who do have regular cancer screening were asked why they screened, and what prompted them to act. We found that people who had screenings for breast and cervical cancers chose to participate because it was part of their healthcare routine and found reminders were a useful prompt and motivator. Bowel screeners often made the choice to participate when their screening kit arrived in the mail and described wanting to ‘get it over and done with’.

What does this mean?

Findings may inform ways to encourage people to screen for cancer which could include more reminders to screen and campaigns that promote screening as a regular part of routine healthcare. It may also be useful to encourage hasty use of the bowel test kit on its arrival.

Contact: Laura Anderson

Reference: Anderson et al. (2024) Decisions and Prompts to Screen for Cervical, Bowel and Breast Cancer. Patient Education and Counselling. 2024 Jan 26;108174.

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