Improving participation in bowel cancer screening


One in 13 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime. If it is diagnosed early, five-year relative survival rates following treatment are higher than 90%. Improving early diagnosis of bowel cancer is key to improving survival, reducing deaths, and reducing healthcare costs associated with treatment. Participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) is strongly linked to improved survival from bowel cancer in the Australian population; however, only 4 in 10 people complete and return their faecal occult blood test (FOBT) kits.

Our research aims to identify and address the barriers to participation in the NBCSP.

Current projects

Three-phase project aimed at addressing the practical barriers to home bowel cancer screening and developing a new and improved home screening kit to increase participation.

Phase 1    An online survey of approximately 500 NBCSP recipients detailing their history of FOBT kit use and a range of barriers experienced.
Phase 2    Consultations with over 20 NBCSP recipients to better understand the practical and physical elements of home screening kits that prevent or facilitate their use.
Phase 3    An online consumer survey to assess the potential benefits of a new and improved kit design.


Data collection for Phase 1 and 2 are complete and data analysis is underway. Phase 3 is soon to begin.

HREC reference number

For more information

For project questions, please contact the research team by calling (07) 3634 5344 or emailing

For any other questions or support please call Cancer Council Queensland on 13 11 20 between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).