Enventure Research completed a programme of in-depth qualitative research with residents of Leicester City Council which focused on attitudes and views relating to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and poses a significant issue for Leicester, with the area recording statistically lower one-year survival rates when compared to regional and England averages, coupled with the lowest uptake rate of bowel cancer screening kits in the East Midlands. The aim of the research was therefore to gather high quality evidence of public views, assessing awareness of bowel cancer and the National Screening Programme, and exploring the reasons for and barriers to using bowel cancer screening kits.
Previous research had indicated that uptake of the screening programme was significantly lower in South Asian residents, of which Leicester has the largest population in the county. Additionally, Leicester has a high level of deprivation compared to the country as a whole. It was therefore suggested that these factors may have been influencing the low level of uptake of the screening kits across the Leicester City area. Consequently, individuals from South Asian communities and disadvantaged / deprived areas of Leicester were specifically targeted to participate in the research.
Enventure Research’s experienced research staff conducted a series of six focus groups and eight in-depth telephone interviews with Leicester City Council residents aged 60-74 years old from the target groups of South Asian and disadvantaged / deprived communities. All participants were previous or potential users of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and were recruited by Enventure Research, with support from Leicester City Council, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and local community groups. This recruitment comprised a mixture of direct on-street recruitment, referrals and snowballing.
Groups and interviews were stratified to ensure that both target groups were represented and also that they were split by gender. The locations of the disadvantaged groups were based on the rates of deprivation according to the National Index of Deprivation 2010 across Leicester’s wards. Groups targeting South Asian residents were held in wards with particularly large South Asian populations based on the 2011 Census. An interpreter was present in the female South Asian group, as it was identified at the recruitment stage that a number of participants would struggle to take part in the discussion in English.
The focus groups lasted for 90 minutes and were each attended 10 participants. In-depth interviews were conducted over the telephone at a time convenient for the respondent and lasted for approximately 20 minutes each. Both were moderated by male and female researchers who followed a specifically tailored discussion guide.
Results and Benefits to the Client
In total, 62 Leicester residents took part in the research. The research revealed useful insight into public awareness of bowel cancer, its signs and symptoms, the National Screening Programme and what could be done to increase awareness, specifically within South Asian communities.