Testing innovative strategies to reduce the social gradient in the uptake of bowel cancer screening: a programme of four qualitatively enhanced randomised controlled trials

Title: Testing innovative strategies to reduce the social gradient in the uptake of bowel cancer screening: a programme of four qualitatively enhanced randomised controlled trials
Authors: Raine, R
Atkin, W
Von Wagner, C
Duffy, S
Kralj-Hans, I
Hackshaw, A
Counsell, N
Moss, S
McGregor, L
Palmer, C
Smith, SG
Thomas, M
Howe, R
Vart, G
Band, R
Halloran, SP
Snowball, J
Stubbs, N
Handley, G
Logan, R
Rainbow, S
Obichere, A
Smith, S
Morris, S
Solmi, F
Wardle, J
Item Type: Report
Abstract: Objective: To reduce socioeconomic inequalities in uptake of the NHS BCSP ’ s guaiac faecal occult blood test (gFOBt) without compromising uptake in any socioeconomic group. Design: Workstream 1 explored psychosocial determinants of non-uptake of gFOBt in focus groups and interviews. Workstream 2 developed and tested four theoretically based interventions: (1) ‘ gist ’ information, (2) a ‘ narrative ’ leaflet, (3) ‘ general practice endorsement ’ (GPE) and (4) an ‘ enhanced reminder ’ (ER). Workstream 3 comprised four national cluster randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of the cost-effectiveness of each intervention. Methods: Interventions were co-designed with user panels, user tested using interviews and focus groups, and piloted with postal questionnaires. RCTs compared ‘ usual care ’ (existing NHS BCSP invitations) with usual care plus each intervention. The four trials tested: (1) ‘ gist ’ leaflet ( n = 163,525), (2) ‘ narrative ’ leaflet ( n = 150,417), (3) GPE on the invitation letter ( n = 265,434) and (4) ER ( n = 168,480). Randomisation was based on day of mailing of the screening invitation. The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) score associated with each individual ’ s home address was used as the marker of socioeconomic circumstances (SECs). Change in the socioeconomic gradient in uptake (interaction between treatment group and IMD quintile) was the primary outcome. Screening uptake was defined as the return of a gFOBt kit within 18 weeks of the invitation that led to a ‘ definitive ’ test result of either ‘ normal ’ (i.e. no further investigation required) or ‘ abnormal ’ (i.e. requiring referral for further testing). Difference in overall uptake was the secondary outcome. Results: The gist and narrative trials showed no effect on the SECs gradient or overall uptake (57.6% and 56.7%, respectively, compared with 57.3% and 58.5%, respectively, for usual care; all p -values > 0.05). GPE showed no effect on the gradient ( p = 0.5) but increased overall uptake [58.2% vs. 57.5% in usual care, odds ratio (OR) = 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04 to 1.10; p < 0.0001]. ER showed a significant interaction with SECs ( p = 0.005), with a stronger effect in the most deprived IMD quintile (14.1% vs. 13.3% in usual care, OR = 1.11, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.20; p = 0.003) than the least deprived (34.7% vs. 34.9% in usual care OR = 1.00, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.06; p = 0.98), and higher overall uptake (25.8% vs. 25.1% in usual care, OR = 1.07, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.11; p = 0.001). All interventions were inexpensive to provide. Limitations: In line with NHS policy, the gist and narrative leaflets supplemented rather than replaced existing NHS BCSP information. This may have undermined their effect. Conclusions: Enhanced reminder reduced the gradient and modestly increased overall uptake, whereas GPE increased overall uptake but did not reduce the gradient. Therefore, given their effectiveness and very low cost, the findings suggest that implementation of both by the NHS BCSP would be beneficial. The gist and narrative results highlight the challenge of achieving equitable delivery of the screening offer when all communication is written; the format is universal and informed decision-making mandates extensive medical information.
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2017
ISSN: 2050-4322
Publisher: NIHR Journals Library
Journal / Book Title: Health Technology Assessment
Copyright Statement: © Queen’s Printer and Controller of HMSO 2017. This work was produced by Raine et al. under the terms of a commissioning contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health. This issue may be freely reproduced for the purposes of private research and study and extracts (or indeed, the full report) may be included in professional journals provided that suitable acknowledgement is made and the reproduction is not associated with any form of advertising. Applications for commercial reproduction should be addressed to: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Sponsor/Funder: University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation
Cancer Research UK
Funder's Grant Number: Programme G526
Publication Status: Published online
Open Access location:
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