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

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Objectives To explore patients' experiences of bowel cancer screening and its promotion, and perspectives on possible input from general practice for improving screening rates. Design Qualitative focus group study underpinned by a phenomenological approach. Setting Three general practice clinics in metropolitan South Australia. Participants Thirty active general practice patients, aged 50-74 years (60% female) who were eligible for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Findings Factors affecting screening were described, with particular concerns regarding the nature of the test, screening process and culture. There were mixed views on the role for general practice in bowel cancer screening; some participants appreciated the current process and viewed screening as out of scope of primary care services, while others were in support of general practice involvement. Roles for general practice were proposed that comprised actions across the continuum from providing information through to reminders and the provision and collection of screening kits. With a view that multifaceted strategies are required to encourage participation, community-based solutions were suggested that centred on improving screening culture and education. Conclusions There was a view among participants that general practice could play a useful role in supporting the uptake of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, however participants saw a need for multiple strategies at different levels and under different jurisdictions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere035244
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:


  • preventive medicine
  • primary care
  • qualitative research
  • Bowel cancer screening
  • South Australia


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