Study Progress


Last year we began the first round of follow-up, inviting those who took part in the study between 2014-2017 to complete a follow-up questionnaire. This will continue for other ABC Study participants on a rolling basis until the end of 2021, so that each participant is followed up approximately 3 years after enrolling in the study.

Thank you to all who have completed the follow-up questionnaires. If you received the invitation but have not yet completed the questionnaire, you can easily do so by logging in to the ABC Study website.

For those who enrolled in the study and completed the first set of questionnaires in late 2017 to 2018, you will receive your invitation later this year or next, so please keep your contact details up to date.

Faecal samples

Faecal (poo) samples offer a means of assessing the gut microbiome – the community of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) that inhabit the human gut, and their metabolic products. These samples will enable us to research the links between the gut microbiome, lifestyle factors, and cancer and other diseases.

2019: pilot study

Towards the end of 2019 we conducted a pilot study to test the feasibility of collecting faecal (poo) samples from ABC Study participants.

Participants in the pilot study were asked to provide a poo sample via special cards and to complete a short questionnaire regarding the sample. Some were asked to also provide the sample in a tube containing ethanol or to complete a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).

We found that most ABC Study participants were willing and able to complete the additional questionnaires and to provide a poo sample using both cards and a tube containing ethanol. Further, the samples received were of high quality. Collecting poo samples in both ways will facilitate a greater range of research projects in the future.  

We also received useful feedback and were able to incorporate many learnings into the roll-out of this study component this year. Thank you to everyone who participated, completed study samples and questionnaires and provided feedback.

2020: extension to additional ABC Study participants

Based on the success of the pilot, in 2020 we began inviting ABC Study participants who completed enrolment to the study in 2017 to provide a poo sample. We aim to eventually invite everyone who completed ABC Study enrolment to participate in this study component. Participation involves providing a small sample of poo via special collection cards and a tube, and returning them to us by post. Those invited to participate are also asked to complete additional questionnaires online. 

Poo Kit

We will store these samples to enable future analyses of the gut microbiome. As with previously collected samples (saliva and blood) these will be stored at the Precision Medicine Biorepository (formerly the Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory) at Monash University.

ABC Accelerometer Study

The ABC Accelerometer Study was launched in 2016 and all data collection was completed in 2020. The Study collected information about the physical behaviour (sitting, lying down, standing and moving) from 3,950 ABC Study participants. Those who took part wore 2 devices for 7 days. This information will provide a clear picture of how much time people spend in different types of stationary and moving activities and will allow our researchers to examine how different patterns of sitting, reclining or moving are related to health outcomes.

Read more about the Accelerometer Study here.


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Cancer Epidemiology Division
Cancer Council Victoria
615 St Kilda Road
Melbourne 3004, Australia