A qualitative evaluation of the impact of a training programme on colorectal cancer risk reduction for Specialist Screening Practitioners on health promotion, knowledge and practice

Colorectal Cancer

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2020 Oct 29:e13350. doi: 10.1111/ecc.13350. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. It is estimated that around 50% of the disease burden is caused by lifestyle factors. This paper evaluates the impact of a training programme for Specialist Screening Practitioners (SSPs) on knowledge of CRC risk reduction and subsequent health promotion activities.

METHOD: Attendees (n = 21) were invited to participate in semi-structured qualitative telephone interviews developed in conjunction with programme organisers. An independent researcher undertook the interviews on the perceived impact of the training on knowledge about risk reduction, communicating health promotion messages and working practices.

RESULTS: Ten interviews were conducted. The programme was perceived to be successful in increasing knowledge about CRC risk and methods to promote behavioural change. Participants questioned the suitability of the endoscopy setting to communicate health promotion messages given patient anxiety pre-investigation and post-investigation elation after negative results. Key barriers to health promotion activities were time, hesitancy over raising issues that could not be easily discussed and scepticism about the ability of older adults to change their lifestyle.

CONCLUSIONS: Training on CRC risk reduction increased knowledge and behaviour change skills among SSPs. Further work is needed to explore opportunities to optimise the screening environment for health promotion activities.