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Randomised controlled trials
A decision aid to enhance informed decision making about bowel cancer screening improved knowledge but reduced screening uptake
  1. Joshua J Fenton
  1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, Davis Health System, Sacramento, CA, USA
  1. Correspondence to Joshua J Fenton
    4860 Y Street, Suite 2300, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA; Joshua.fenton{at}

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Randomised trials have shown that screening reduces bowel cancer incidence and mortality, and many countries and health plans have established national or regional screening programmes. Bowel cancer screening has also been incorporated into metrics of primary care quality. High population uptake of bowel screening would maximise societal benefit, but physicians are concurrently interested in assuring that patients are well informed when deciding whether to complete screening. This trial assesses a decision aid designed to enhance informed decision making regarding faecal occult blood test (FOBT) screening.


The authors used telephone outreach to recruit subjects residing in socioeconomically deprived areas of New South Wales, Australia, who were eligible for bowel cancer screening. Patients were randomised to a decision aid or a control intervention – differing mainly in the print materials mailed with an FOBT kit. Patients in the decision aid arm …

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  • Competing interests None.