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

Cook, Neil orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9738-9582, Hart, Anna, Nuttall, K, Simpson, K, Turnill, N, Grant-Pearce, C, Damms, P, Allen, V, Slade, K et al (2011) A telephone survey of cancer awareness among frontline staff: informing training needs. British Journal of Cancer, 105 (3). pp. 340-345. ISSN 0007-0920

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/bjc.2011.258


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.

A cross-sectional computer-assisted telephone survey of 4664 frontline community-based health and social care staff in North West England.

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).

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.

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