Patients’ views on involving general practice in bowel cancer screening: a South Australian focus group study

In Australia, bowel cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, and second most frequent cause of death from cancer. This study explored patients’ experiences of bowel cancer screening and its promotion, as well as their perspectives on possible input from general practice (GP) to improve screening rates. A focus group was conducted with 30 active general practice patients, aged 50–74 years who were eligible for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP)  in metropolitan South Australia. There were mixed views on the role for GPs in bowel cancer screening; some participants viewed screening as out of scope of primary care services, while others were in support of GP involvement, suggesting roles in providing information, reminders, and the provision and collection of screening kits. Furthermore, participants saw a need for multiple strategies at different levels and under different jurisdictions to encourage community-based participation. The findings from this study reinforced the important role that GPs can play in supporting the uptake of the NBCSP in Australia, illustrating that GPs could offer support through education, advice, monitoring and active screening.

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