Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer in the United Kingdom. and the second leading cause of cancer mortality. Screening is widely recommended for the early detection of CRC and is associated with improved survival outcomes.
The NHS runs a population-based screening programme to test for colorectal cancer for people aged between 60 and 74 years. The guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood in the stool. It is done once a year. For this test, you receive a test kit from your health care provider. At home, you use a stick or brush to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood.
iPLATO partnered with the NHS to send out SMS text reminders to increase uptake and completion of this service. Eligible particpants were invited to participate in the NHS BCSP (Bowel Cancer Screening Programme) as per standard practice; and, additionally, received a text-message reminder if they have not returned the test kit within eight weeks of receiving their initial invitation letter. The text message reminder included the name of the person’s General Practice, the purpose of the text-message, and guidance on where to get more information.