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

Br J Cancer. 2011 Jul 26;105(3):340-5. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.258. Epub 2011 Jul 12.

Abstract

Background: 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.

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

Results: 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).

Conclusion: 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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Work / education*
  • United Kingdom