Participant views of taking part in a tailored cancer awareness intervention: Preliminary participant interview findings from the Awareness and Beliefs About Cancer Trial (ABACus3)


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Harriet Quinn-Scoggins1,Yvonne Moriarty2,Fiona Wood1,Julia Townson2,Kate Brain1
1Division of Population Medicine, School of Medicine, Cardiff University,2Centre for Trials Research, Cardiff University



Cancer symptom awareness is lower in disadvantaged communities resulting in delayed help-seeking, late stage diagnosis, and poorer long-term outcomes. Evidence suggests that tailored community-based cancer awareness interventions can be successful at engaging low sociodemographic groups. We tested a tailored health-check intervention delivered by trained lay advisors in disadvantaged communities. The health-check assessed cancer symptoms, risk and screening behaviours and summarised results in a traffic light system with behaviour change advice delivered by the advisor.

This paper presents participants’ views of taking part in the intervention.


Participants were purposefully sampled from the ABACus3 trial to take part in semi-structured telephone interviews at 4-6 weeks or 6 months post-randomisation. Sampling criteria included trial allocation, recruitment setting, gender, age and geographical location. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis supported by NVivo11.


Fifteen interviews were completed 4-6 weeks post-randomisation and to date thirteen interviews have been completed 6 months post-randomisation. 6 month interviews will be completed by August 2019.

Some participants reported being very knowledgeable about specific cancers/symptoms before taking part based on direct personal experience or caring for someone with cancer. Tailored behaviour change advice was taken on board by some who reported changing behaviour to reduce their cancer risk; however, many described being limited by factors outside of their control such as disability and accessing services. Participants showed some awareness of national campaigns, although were often unable to name them or specify what cancer/symptom they were raising awareness for.


Preliminary results suggest that a tailored community-based intervention could be a successful method for raising awareness of cancer symptoms to people from low socioeconomic groups and in supporting them to identify how best to reduce their risk. Further work is needed to understand how any change implemented supports long-term awareness and risk reduction in this population.