Bowel screening campaign followed by big rise in knowledge and awareness

Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 10:05

Image from the bowel screening campaign

The first monitor following the launch of the national bowel screening campaign There’s a screening here tonight reports a significant increase in people’s knowledge about bowel cancer screening, compared to before the campaign.

The campaign, which launched in July 2022, encourages people to take part in screening for bowel cancer – ‘Bowel screening is free, quick and simple, and you can do it at home’. It was developed through co-design, and reflects Māori and Pacific colour, vibrancy, whānau values, and humour. The campaign is scheduled to run to at least the end of June 2024.

The first monitor follows a baseline survey taken before the campaign began. A total of 414 New Zealanders were surveyed, with oversampling of Māori, Pacific people and disabled people. Findings included:

  • Overall recognition of the campaign was 67 percent, which is considered to be a very strong result for an advertising campaign
  • There was a significant shift in increased knowledge, from people only knowing a little bit about bowel cancer and bowel screening to now knowing a lot
  • The campaign has increased understanding of how to take a bowel cancer screening test and people are more aware of the screening process
  • It addresses key misconceptions about bowel screening
  • There has been an increased intention to screen from people who have seen the campaign
  • One in four people who have seen the campaign have gone on to use a bowel screening test kit.

National Bowel Screening Programme Clinical Lead Dr Susan Parry says the monitor results are extremely encouraging.

“The bowel screening campaign is part of a multi-pronged approach to reduce inequities in participation in bowel screening. Currently, the overall participation rate for the programme is 58 percent, with Māori participation at 49 percent and Pacific peoples participation at 39 percent. We want to see participation rates of at least 60 percent for everyone.

“Leading this approach are the bowel screening teams across the motu who work tirelessly, encouraging their people to take part in the programme. Other initiatives include the lower bowel screening starting age for Māori and Pacific peoples being progressively rolled out across the country and a new-look bowel screening kit which is soon to be introduced.

“As people are sent bowel screening kits every two years, we expect to see a steady increase in participation, rather than a sudden jump. The message is simple – When you get the test, just do it! It could save your life.”

Free bowel screening is available to approximately 835,000 New Zealanders aged 60 to 74. It is offered every two years (and for Māori and Pacific people from the age of 50 in some areas).

Page last updated: 02 March 2023