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A telephone survey of cancer awareness among frontline staff: informing training needs

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • Neil Cook
  • Anna Hart
  • K Nuttall
  • K Simpson
  • N Turnill
  • C Grant-Pearce
  • P Damms
  • V Allen
  • K Slade
  • P Dey
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)340-345
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


background: Studies have shown limited awareness about cancer risk factors among hospital-based staff. Less is known about general cancer awareness among community frontline National Health Service and social care staff.
methods: A cross-sectional computer-assisted telephone survey of 4664 frontline community-based health and social care staff in North West England.
results: A total of 671 out of 4664 (14.4%) potentially eligible subjects agreed to take part. Over 92% of staff recognised most warning signs, except an unexplained pain (88.8%, n=596), cough or hoarseness (86.9%, n=583) and a sore that does not heal (77.3%, n=519). The bowel cancer-screening programme was recognised by 61.8% (n=415) of staff. Most staff agreed that smoking and passive smoking ‘increased the chance of getting cancer.’ Fewer agreed about getting sunburnt more than once as a child (78.0%, n=523), being overweight (73.5%, n=493), drinking more than one unit of alcohol per day (50.2%, n=337) or doing less than 30 min of moderate physical exercise five times a week (41.1%, n=276).
conclusion: Cancer awareness is generally good among frontline staff, but important gaps exist, which might be improved by targeted education and training and through developing clearer messages about cancer risk factors.