A NEW £94,000 trial is being started in an effort to get more people to take part in home bowel cancer screening.

The money is being invested by Yorkshire Cancer Research to increase the number of people aged 60 to 74 taking up screening.

Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group has the lowest bowel cancer screening participation rate in England, with just 37 per cent of those invited taking part, and participation rates at Bradford District and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCGs are very low in some areas.

As part of its partnership with the CCGs, Yorkshire Cancer Research will run a trial to find out if follow-up phone calls can improve the number of people completing the home test.

People aged between 60 and 74 are sent a faecal occult blood test home kit every two years, which is a simple way to look for signs of bowel cancer.

As part of the investment, people who have not returned their test will receive a phone call from trained staff to discuss any problems people may have had with their screening kit, the benefits of returning the kit and also to alleviate concerns around cancer diagnosis.

The staff will be trained to speak to people in a variety of different languages.

The trial will be led by Ian Wallace, head of commissioning, planned care and cancer at Bradford City and Bradford Districts CCGs, who will work with local GP practices to deliver the project.

He said: “The areas of poorest screening completion are also the areas of highest deprivation and have the most ethnically diverse population.

“There are some specific challenges we have in our area, such as the wide variety of languages spoken, but the letter that accompanies the bowel cancer screening kit is only available in English.

“It can make it hard for people to understand the screening programme and in turn return their kit.

“By providing information in people’s own language that is also culturally sensitive, we hope to see an increase in the proportion of patients completing the test.

“If we can increase engagement and understanding of the screening programme it will lead to the diagnosis of bowel cancer at an earlier stage, reducing the risk of mortality from the disease.”

Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, added: “It is incredibly important that health messages are individually tailored to those receiving them so that they are easily understood.”

The project is part of a £3.6 million investment by the charity in research.