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Centre for Behavioural
Research in Cancer

Evaluation of public communication campaigns to promote bowel cancer screening using faecal occult blood tests

Although bowel cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer death, around 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully if detected early. Screening for bowel cancer via faecal occult blood tests (FOBTs) has been shown to markedly reduce bowel cancer mortality. The Australian national bowel cancer screening program sends immunochemical FOBTs directly to the homes of people aged 50 to 74 years, and those who participate are re-invited every two years. This research program evaluates the impact of integrated public communication campaigns to promote the benefits of bowel cancer screening on rates of completed FOBT kit returns among people who were and were not exposed to media campaigns. Analyses investigate effects overall and among population subgroups and adjust for other influences on FOBT kit return rates. Using a population survey approach, the research program also evaluates other markers of campaign impact such as attitude and intention change and campaign-prompted interpersonal discussion and encouragement to do the test.

CBRC staff

Prof Sarah Durkin, Dr Belinda Morley, Kerryann Wyatt, Matthew Ross, Dr Anna Nicholson, Claudia Gascoyne


Screening, Early Detection and Immunisation program staff and Communications staff of the Prevention Division at Cancer Council Victoria, Cancer Council Australia colleagues, colleagues at the Daffodil Centre at the University of New South Wales, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, A/Prof Matthew Spittal, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne.


Cancer Council Victoria, Cancer Council Australia, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, Victorian Department of Health


2014 - present