Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network

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Cancer Awareness Research

In 2010 Public Knowledge were commissioned by the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network to conduct research to assess cancer awareness amongst front-line staff members employed by Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust, North Lancashire Primary Care Trust and Lancashire County Council.

The CAM was designed to assess cancer awareness in residential samples and this is the first time that the measure has been adapted to examine cancer awareness in a professional sample using a telephone methodology.

This research is crucial because in order for early preventive care to be effective it is vital that front-line staff recognise the symptoms of cancer, pro-actively work to make their patients aware of them and ensure that appropriate action is taken when a person displaying possible symptoms of cancer comes under their care (e.g. GP referral).

In total 671 interviews were conducted using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) methodology by experienced business-to-business interviewers. The results showed that while cancer awareness in front-line staff members is notably higher in comparison to the data that Public Knowledge has collected from residential samples, there is still room for improvement and the research will be crucial in helping the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network compile training to help further educate staff.

A paper detailing cancer awareness in front line staff members using the data collected on behalf of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network was also published in the British Journal of Cancer in July 2011.


“Public Knowledge were commissioned to carry out our cancer awareness survey with front line health and social care staff. They managed to achieve a useful number of responses within a very tight time scale and despite some significant contact issues arising. They were at all times flexible, professional and easy to contact and willing to change plans at short notice.”

Kate Simpson, Service Improvement Facilitator, Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network