Breakout session 6: Awareness and early detection
Awareness and early detection are key areas for improvement with regards to cancer inequalities. One-year and five-year survival rates decrease as social deprivation increases, and the gap is widening.
Sara Hiom, Dr Rupert Suckling and Professor Jane Wardle
Contributing factors, which are increasingly highlighted as areas to tackle, are: symptom recognition, interactions with primary care services and screening uptake. For example, data on the uptake of bowel cancer screening in London shows that the number of kits returned decreases as socio-economic status decreases. Unless this is addressed this could lead to massive inequalities in bowel cancer outcomes.
During the session, in a case study from Dr Rupert Suckling, delegates heard about a combined “push and pull” intervention programme for lung cancer detection in Doncaster.
The programme involved targeted advertising to raise awareness of lung cancer symptoms (push) and training for front-line staff to better recognise the symptoms of lung cancer (pull) which resulted in an increase in early diagnosis rates from 11 to 19 per cent.
Sara Hiom - Director of Health Information, Cancer Research UK (Chair)
Professor Jane Wardle - Director of CR-UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, UCL
Dr Rupert Suckling - Deputy Director of Public Health, NHS Doncaster
View Professor Jane Wardle's presentation [PDF, 802kb]
View Dr Rupert Suckling's presentation [PDF, 1.5mb]
How do we apply this and other successful projects to other cancers.
How do we ensure these interventions are sustainable? That message fatigue does not mean impact is lost.
How do we ensure rigour in evaluating value for money?
Top three ideas for reducing cancer inequalities:
Engage communities and work with users to develop messages and produce resources to make sure they are appropriate to different community groups. The messages should use non-clinical, understandable language and give permission for people to talk about embarrassing problems.
Use community events and organisations to help raise awareness by disseminating simple and accessible messages.
Raise awareness amongst and educate parents and teachers to help to ensure sustainability. Once the impact of advertising campaigns has worn off, we need to ensure message is spread by word of mouth.