What is known?
Many strategies have been tried to increase participation in programs such as the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, with only modest success. Little is known about what the most effective techniques are to change behaviour when it comes to bowel cancer screening, making it difficult to design more effective strategies.
What is new?
Through examining and comparing the behaviour change techniques applied in various previous intervention strategies, we were able to better understand which techniques are associated with successful and unsuccessful strategies. For example, it was found that interventions that aim to change people’s screening behaviour through providing information about health consequences, prompts or cues and recommendations from a credible source such as a healthcare provider, were more often successful than those which attempt to do so through offering incentives such as financial reward or approval from others. Further to this, we found that it is important to apply behaviour change techniques that both increase people’s intentions to screen as well as those which help them carry out the action of completing a screening kit.
What does this mean?
Organisers of population bowel cancer screening programs should aim to include these previously successful and recommended behaviour change techniques within their programs and apply intervention strategies with multiple components to increase participation that target both people’s intentions and actions to ultimately increase participation.
Contact: Larry Myers
Reference: Myers L, Goodwin B, Ralph N, Castro O, March S. Implementation strategies for interventions aiming to increase participation in mail-out bowel cancer screening programs: A realist review. Frontiers in Oncology. 2020; 10:543732.