A TRIAL will roll out across the region next month which will see patients sent a text message instead of a letter encouraging bowel screening participation.
The research project, called 'Smart Screen' will see general practices send out an SMS to patients aged 50 and over, asking them to take part in bowel cancer screening.
The SMS will contain testimonial videos of individuals endorsing the benefits of cancer screening, with the aim of increasing cancer prevention and screening outcomes. They will then measure whether it resulted in any uptake in screening.
Western Victoria Primary Health Network CEO, Dr Leanne Beagley, said the project was the next step in the organisation's involvement in digital integration initiatives in cancer screening.
"This is a fantastic initiative that we and our partners have collaborated on to increase uptake in cancer screening in the community," said Dr Beagley.
The project will be overseen by the Department of General Practice University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research expert team and includes five practices recruited to participate and five practices as a control group in WVPHN's catchment area.
Improving cancer screening rates and reducing cancer risks through early detection is a priority in a renewed focus on preventative strategies, said to Dr Beagley.
"Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program has proven that 9 out of 10 bowel cancers will not develop beyond pre-cancer polyps when detected early and treated," said Dr Beagley.
"We are proud to be offering this trial to our GPs and indeed our community in western Victoria."
Currently, all eligible Australians aged 50-74 are invited to screen every two years via mail.
The trial is in partnership with Cancer Council Victoria, Healthily and PenCat.
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