Pre-notification increases uptake of colorectal cancer screening in all demographic groups: a randomized controlled trial

Gillian Libby, Jane Bray, Jennifer Champion, Linda A. Brownlee, Janice Birrell, Dermot R. Gorman, Emilia M. Crighton, Callum G. Fraser, Robert J. C. Steele

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    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives To assess whether pre-notification is effective in increasing uptake of colorectal cancer screening for all demographic groups.

    Setting Scottish national colorectal cancer screening programme.

    Methods Males and females aged 50-74 years received a faecal occult blood test by post to complete at home. They were randomized to receive in addition: the pre-notification letter, the pre-notification letter + information booklet, or the usual invitation. Overall, 59,953 subjects were included in the trial between 13/04/09 and 29/05/09 and followed to 27/11/09. Pre-notification letters were posted two weeks ahead of the screening test kit. Uptake was defined as the return of a screening test and chi-squared tests compared uptake between the trial arms. Logistic regression assessed the impact of the letter and letter + booklet on uptake independently of gender, age, deprivation and screening round.

    Results Uptake was higher with both the letter (59.0%) and the letter + booklet (58.5%) compared with the usual invitation (53.9%, p < 0.0001). This increased uptake was seen for males, females, all age groups and all deprivation categories including least deprived females (letter 69.9%, usual invitation 66.6%) and most deprived males (42.6% vs. 36.1%), the groups with the highest and lowest levels of uptake respectively in the pilot screening rounds conducted prior to the roll out of the programme. Uptake with the pre-notification letter compared with the usual invitation was higher both unadjusted and adjusted for demographic factors (odds ratio 1.24, 95% Cl 1.193-1.294).

    Conclusions Pre-notification is an effective method of increasing uptake in colorectal cancer screening for both genders and all age and deprivation groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-29
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Medical Screening
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Pilot


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