OBJECTIVE: To analyse the impact of a community cancer awareness programme on knowledge of cancer risk factors and symptoms, screening, and barriers to seeking help.
METHODS: Personalised information through peer-led champions was delivered to 5500 people in a range of settings and Cancer Awareness Measures questionnaires were completed by 119 participants at pre-arranged sessions (convenience sampling) before and after the intervention. Data were analysed using McNemar tests, Mann-Whitney U test and a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test.
RESULTS: Data showed increase in knowledge after the intervention for cancer screening programmes (p < 0.05), recognition of warning signs for cancer (p < 0.05), and recognition of risk factors for cancer in seven of the eleven options (p < 0.001). Results suggest a decrease in perception of barriers to seeking help (p < 0.05). The intervention had a stronger impact on recognition of cancer symptoms for people who have been affected by cancer (p = 0.02).
CONCLUSION: The Cancer Awareness Measures questionnaire proved an effective tool for evaluation and awareness improved after the intervention amongst those who completed it.
PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Enhancing the perceived personal relevance of information to those with experience of cancer may improve information processing and retention. The study highlights cancer awareness gaps among the public for future intervention development.