Is there a geographical association between cancer survival in England with cancer symptom awareness and barriers to help-seeking?

Maja Niksic, Bernard Rachet , Stephen W. Duffy, Manuela Quaresma, Henrik Møller, Lindsay Jean Lesley Forbes

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPoster abstractpeer-review

    Abstract

    Background

    A guiding principle of Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer is that early cancer detection and diagnosis saves lives. Since 2011, more than £450 million has been invested in raising cancer awareness and encouraging earlier diagnosis. However, little is known about whether cancer awareness and barriers to help-seeking are associated with cancer survival, or how awareness and barriers vary by geographical region in England.

    Method

    From population-based surveys (n=35,308) using the Cancer Research UK Cancer Awareness Measure in 2009/11, we calculated the sex- and age-standardised mean symptom awareness and barrier score, and individual symptoms/barriers, for 52 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). These measures were linked to the sex- and age-standardised mean cancer survival of the corresponding PCT, from the National Cancer Registry (all cancers combined, and breast, bowel and lung cancer). Data were analysed using linear regression.

    Results

    Cancer symptom awareness and barriers to presentation varied greatly between geographical regions in England, with the worst results observed in socio-economically deprived parts of East London. Low cancer awareness was significantly associated with poor cancer survival at PCT level. Specifically, better recognition of ‘unexplained lump or swelling' was associated with better breast cancer survival, and ‘persistent change in bowel or bladder habits' with better bowel cancer survival. The overall barriers score was not significantly associated with cancer survival, but increased embarrassment was associated with lower overall cancer survival, and especially lower bowel and breast cancer survival.

    Conclusion

    Cancer symptom awareness is associated with cancer survival, suggesting that raising cancer symptom awareness may reduce mortality by promoting earlier presentation. Campaigns need to focus on raising cancer awareness and reducing barriers, especially in socio-economically deprived areas. It is essential for health care professionals to make efforts to put patients at ease and alleviate their embarrassment about seeking medical help.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIs there a geographical association between cancer survival in England with cancer symptom awareness and barriers to help-seeking?
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2015
    Event National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference - The BT Convention Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Duration: 1 Nov 20154 Nov 2015

    Conference

    Conference National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    CityLiverpool
    Period1/11/20154/11/2015

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