The Forum has been allocated government funding to look at effective strategies for communicating with men about bowel cancer screening now that this test is available - theoretically at least - on the NHS.
Following a pilot, which ended in 2003, the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (NBCSP) is now being rolled out nationwide using the non-invasive Faecal Occult Blood test (FOBt). The MHF has been allocated funding by the Department of Health to research and pilot effective communication strategies for men, aimed at ensuring that take up is equally high in both sexes. The MHF project will last for three years.
The NBCSP pilot took place between 2001 and 2003 in Coventry & Warwickshire and Tayside, Grampian & Fife. It offered the FOBt, which uses a self-taken specimen to over 250,000 people aged between 50 and 69.
The take-up during the pilot was 61% among women and 52% among men. MHF policy and projects officer David Wilkins said: 'This is relatively low for both sexes but the gap between men and women is obviously of particular interest to the MHF. In raw numbers, the gap means that 10,000 fewer men than women took part. If take-up by men had been as high as take up by women, roughly 80 more cases of bowel cancer in men would have been detected at an early stage'.
Of the new funding, David said: 'This is terrific news for the MHF. This project will help us to learn how to communicate effectively with men about this particular health issue - but the lessons will ultimately have a much wider application. The Department of Health has been far-sighted in agreeing to fund this work and is, at the same time, making a notable contribution toward the quest for gender-equitable health services.'
Page created on February 19th, 2007
Page updated on December 1st, 2009