Increased cancer awareness among British adolescents after a school-based educational intervention: a controlled before-and-after study with 6-month follow-up

Richard G. Kyle, Liz Forbat, Petra Rauchhaus, Gill Hubbard

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    Abstract

    Background: There is a lack of evidence around the effectiveness of school-based interventions designed to raise adolescents' cancer awareness. To address this deficit this study assessed the impact of an intervention delivered in the United Kingdom by Teenage Cancer Trust on: recall (open question) and recognition (closed question) of cancer warning signs; knowledge of common childhood, teenage, male and female cancers; awareness of the relationship between cancer and age; anticipated medical help-seeking delay; perceived barriers to seeking medical advice about cancer; and examined variation of intervention effect by gender and whether adolescents reported that they knew someone with cancer.

    Methods: The Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM) was completed by 422 adolescents (male: 221, 52.4%) aged 11-17 years old (mean age=13.8, standard deviation=1.26) two weeks before and two weeks after the intervention in three schools, and on two occasions four weeks apart in a fourth (control) school. Intervention schools were followed-up 6-months post-intervention.

    Results: Recognition of nine common cancer warning signs significantly increased two weeks after the intervention (4.6 to 6.8, p

    Conclusions: The intervention is an effective way to raise adolescents' cancer awareness, especially of cancer symptoms. Further development and evaluation is required to maximise intervention impact, particularly on barriers to help-seeking behaviour.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number190
    Number of pages11
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Volume13
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Keywords

    • DELAY
    • HEALTH-PROMOTION
    • MELANOMA
    • DIAGNOSIS

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