Bowel cancer prevention and early detection in primary care

Enabling timely and affordable access to new cancer treatments for Australian cancer patients.

The Primary Care Cancer Research Group, led by Professor Jon Emery, is focused on improving outcomes for cancer patients across the cancer continuum from cancer prevention through to survivorship. Key areas of the research program include cancer prevention and early detection, implementation of cancer genomic testing for risk-based prevention, and clinical informatics, including data linkage and computer-decision support tools.

Primary Care_Jon Emery

The Cancer in Primary Care Research Group has a range of innovative new studies focused on bowel cancer prevention and early detection in primary care currently in progress or due to commence in the near future. These studies aim to  increase participation in population bowel cancer screening (through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program) and implement new evidence-based guidelines about using aspirin for bowel cancer prevention.

The SCRIPT Trial: a study of DNA testing to tailor bowel cancer screening in primary care
The SCRIPT trial is a randomised controlled trial measuring the effect of using a genomic (DNA) test for to tailor bowel cancer screening according to an individual’s risk of the condition. Differences in people’s DNA can tell us about someone’s risk of bowel cancer, even if there has been no family history of bowel cancer. The intervention includes the DNA test and then tells participants what type of bowel cancer screening is best for them. We will measure whether this personalised risk information and screening recommendation helps participants make better decisions about the most suitable form of bowel cancer screening for them.

Funded by a dedicated grant from the Victorian Cancer Agency Prevention and Screening Research Grant, SMARTscreen will measure the impact of sending an SMS to prompt 50 -60 year old patients to do their National Bowel Cancer Screening test. The SMS includes an endorsement from the patient’s general practice, a positive narrative video about bowel cancer screening and an animated video describing how to do the screening test. The intervention is evidence-based and simple, and if effective will have an impact on increasing the early detection of colorectal cancer.

The SITA Trial: Should I take aspirin?
The SITA Trial is testing a patient-decision aid about whether to take low dose aspirin to reduce their riskof bowel cancer and other long term conditions. The trial was developed after Cancer Council Australia published new guidelines about the use of low dose aspirin in people aged 50 to 70 years. This randomised controlled trial is testing the effect of the new decision aid on informed decision-making and actual use of aspirin.

  • Recruitment

    General practice patients from participating practices are invited to take part in this research, and the Primary Care Cancer Research team welcomes interest from Victorian practices. If this is something you would like to hear more about, please get in touch with the relevant study contact below.

    SMARTscreen: Anna Wood, Project Manager

    The SITA Trial: Shakira Milton, Study Coordinator & PhD Candidate

    The SCRIPT Trial: Sibel Saya, Study Coordinator & Genetic Counsellor

  • Principle Investigators

    The SCRIPT Trial

    Professor Jon Emery, Professor Mark Jenkins, Professor Finlay Macrae, Professor Ingrid Winship, Dr Fiona Walter, Associate Professor Daniel Buchanan, Dr Patty Chondros, Dr Richard De Abreu Lourenco and Dr Jennifer McIntosh.


    Dr Jennifer McIntosh, Professor Jon Emery, Professor Mark Jenkins, Ms Anna Wood, Dr Tina Campbell and Ms Edweana Wenkart.

    The SITA Trial: Should I take aspirin?

    Professor Jon Emery, Ms Shakira Milton, Ms Sibel Saya, Dr Fiona Walter, Dr Lyndal Trevena, Dr Panagiota Chondoros, Professor Mark Jenkins, Dr Jennifer McIntosh and  Prof Finlay Macrae

  • Research support

    The studies from the Cancer in Primary Care Research group are made possible due to dedicated grants from Victorian Cancer Agency Prevention and Screening Research Grant scheme and Cancer Australia.

  • Contact

    Ms Michelle King – Program Manager, Cancer in Primary Care Research

Jon Emery group

Professor Jon Emery's Cancer in Primary Care group

Exploring the role of primary care across the cancer continuum, including studies on cancer screening, cancer diagnosis and survivorship care.

Visit the group page

Latest news