Examining the effectiveness of campaigns to increase cancer awareness and promote earlier presentation: a systematic rapid evidence assessment

ABC-DEEP Consortium, Vicky Hammersley, Richard Neal, David Weller, Christine Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background: Lengthy patient intervals (time to presentation) in symptomatic cancer diagnosis are thought to relate, at least in part, to low cancer awareness among patients. This includes knowledge of signs and symptoms, risk factors for cancer, and beliefs about effectiveness of treatment. In recent years considerable investment has been made in campaigns designed to promote cancer awareness and address barriers to timely presentation: understanding the effectiveness of these interventions will inform future strategies.

Research question: Are interventions to raise cancer awareness and promote earlier presentation with cancer symptoms effective?

Methods: We are updating a previous systematic review, examining the effectiveness of two types of intervention: interventions delivered to individuals recruited to a study and interventions delivered to communities. Medline, EMBASE, PsychINFO, CINAHL and Cochrane Library have been searched from 2008 onwards. Only English language papers are included. All study designs include RCTs, non-randomised trials, before and after studies and time series. Two reviewers checked titles and abstracts identified from the searches, and carried out quality assessment and data extraction. Due to heterogeneity of interventions, analysis will use a narrative synthesis approach.

Results: Twenty-eight full text papers and twenty-one conference proceedings are included. Interventions relate to several cancer types including colorectal (n = 11), oral (n = 11), lung (n = 6), melanoma (n = 5) and others. Interventions include national and local initiatives, and include media campaigns, online interventions, leaflets, videos and public lectures. Both UK and international studies are included. Analysis is by intervention type, cancer type and discrete outcomes (awareness and clinical parameters). The findings will be reported in full at the conference.

Discussion: This work has been commissioned by Cancer Research UK to inform future research and policy initiatives, but the results will be of relevance in many healthcare contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberP-53
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


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