Background and Context:
Only 9% of colorectal cancers (CRCs) in the United Kingdom (UK) are diagnosed early1 with 15% more patients being diagnosed at a later stage of the disease compared with most other European countries2. The National Health Service Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BSCP) is provided free of charge to all men and women aged 60–74 years inclusive in the UK. However screening linked health inequality has been found with lower uptake in socioeconomically deprived populations3,4,5. However, men and women place a high value on the endorsement of bowel cancer screening by their health care practitioner6,7.
To develop a new CRC awareness programme targeted at less affluent members of the community in South London, to increase uptake of FOB testing.
A team of six junior doctors delivered education sessions, targeting less affluent individuals aged 50–74 years over a three month period in South London.
The interactive education sessions held within ethnic minority communities covered information regarding CRC and the importance of screening with a demonstration and thorough explanation of the FOB test.
Questionnaires pre and post sessions were used to assess understanding of CRC, BCSP and willingness to participate in screening.
Outcomes/What was learned:
These sessions showed marked improvement in knowledge of CRC and self-reported intent to participate in BCSP among our participants
· Understanding of CRC: 19% pre-session to 95% post-session
· Willingness to participate in bowel screening: 39% pre- session to 95% post session
· 100% people showed willingness to discuss their concerns about bowel cancer with their GP
· Despite the improvement in understanding of bowel cancer, only 23-42% expressed willingness to change lifestyle factors
These results suggest that educational sessions targeted at socially deprived populations may increase screening rates but will require long term follow-up to assess coherence with post-session questionnaire responses.