Four different invitation/information strategies were tested as part of the ASCEND study and compared with the standard bowel cancer screening invitation letter to see if screening participation could be improved. During the study period, people invited for screening might have received, at random, one or a combination of the following as part of the ASCEND study:
- The standard bowel cancer screening invitation letter;
- A simplified summary leaflet;
- A narrative leaflet which described individuals’ experiences of screening;
- A statement of endorsement of the screening programme from the patient’s GP practice;
- An enhanced reminder letter targeted specifically at those who had not responded.
No other aspects of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme were changed during the study. People received the same care as part of the screening programme regardless of whether they received an alternative invitation, or had their information used as part of the study.