Objective: We aimed to develop and validate a measurement tool to assess cancer awareness in the general population: the cancer awareness measure (CAM).
Methods: Items assessing awareness of cancer warning signs, risk factors, incidence, screening programmes and attitudes towards help seeking were extracted from the literature or generated by expert groups. To determine reliability, the CAM was administered to a university participant panel (n=148), with a sub-sample (n=94) completing it again 2 weeks later. To establish construct validity, CAM scores of cancer experts (n=12) were compared with those of non-medical academics (n=21). Finally, university students (n=49) were randomly assigned to read either a cancer information leaflet or a leaflet with control information before completing the measure, to ensure the CAM was sensitive to change.
Results: Cognitive interviewing indicated that the CAM was being interpreted as intended. Internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha=0.77) and test-retest reliability (r=0.81) were high. Scores for cancer experts were significantly higher than those for non-medical academics (t(31)=6.8, P<0.001). CAM scores were higher among students who received an intervention leaflet than the control leaflet (t(47)=4.8, P<0.001).
Conclusions: These studies show the psychometric properties of the CAM and support its validity as a measure of cancer awareness in the general population.