Background- Participation in faecal occult blood test (FOBT) screening in Australia is significantly lower amongst men than women. This is problematic as men are at a significantly increased risk of being diagnosed with, and dying from, colorectal cancer (CRC). Unpublished analyses of our existing data have consistently found differences in several psychosocial constructs (e.g., self-efficacy, perceived barriers) between male non participants and participants in FOBT screening. Moreover these constructs are differentially associated with readiness to screen amongst men relative to women, thus suggesting a gender specific approach to offering screening may improve male participation.
Objective- To compare the efficacy of three male-targeted recruitment techniques for improving participation in FOBT screening.
Design- The study will be a multi-armed randomised controlled trial. Names and addresses of N=9,200 men aged 50-74 will be randomly selected from the Australian Electoral Roll. The sample will be stratified based on population density for the five most populous Australian states. Participants will be randomised to either a control condition or one of three intervention arms. The control condition will mimic the recruitment protocol of the Australian National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, which includes an advance notification letter and a free, mail-delivered FOBT and invitation letter. The intervention arms will vary in terms of whether they receive customised advance notification letters, customised invitation letters or both. Customised letters will be designed to target relevant psychosocial variables identified in previous analyses. The study will be powered to detect group differences in FOBT participation of at least six percent. Sub samples from each group will complete a baseline and endpoint questionnaire to determine the psychological impact of the intervention.
Discussion-This project will identify whether new strategies are effective for encouraging men to participate in screening for CRC and will provide insights into how messages might be framed and delivered in order to maximise participation.