Impact of a mass media campaign on participation rates in a National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

This study aimed to compare bowel cancer screening rates prior to, during and after a mass media campaign, and assess how high intensity campaigning in one state compared to a state that received less campaign exposure. An eight week television-led mass media campaign was launched in selected regions of Australia in mid-2014 to promote the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), which mails out FOBT kits. The campaign used TV advertising in the entire state of Queensland (QLD) but only some of Western Australia (WA). There were other supportive campaign elements such as print, digital and online advertising. The number of FOBT kits returned increased in QLD during the months of the campaign and up to two months after the broadcast, but not significantly in WA. This study indicates that low levels of participation in the NBCSP could be increased by mass media campaigns, but the overall effect will be dependent on the intensity of the campaign.

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