Case Study
Anglia Cancer Network

Sectors: Health
Medical and Healthcare
Service(s): Data Processing and Analysis, Face-to-face, Interpretation and Reporting, Project Design, Quantitative
Approach(es): Consumer, Customer Insight, Customer Profiling, Segmentation, Social Research

The Challenge

The National Cancer Reform Strategy highlighted the importance of raising awareness in the general population. Reviews and original research commissioned by the Department of Health and others have identified several factors which are associated with longer delays by patients in seeking help.

In response to this a National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative was established. One of the early outputs was a validated measure for symptom awareness.

The Cancer Awareness measurement tool (CAM) was developed by Cancer Research UK in collaboration with a group from University College London, King’s College London and the Universities of Oxford and Glasgow.

The tool was designed to facilitate accurate and sensitive surveillance of public awareness of cancer over time, identify information needs and monitor the impact of campaigns promoting awareness and early presentation. The CAM was used in the National Cancer Awareness Survey towards the end of 2008. It is now being used to establish cancer awareness levels more locally across the country.

The Anglia Cancer Network commissioned DJS Research to carry out a survey using this tool to measure the levels of cancer awareness in the local populations.

The aim of the survey was to provide a baseline assessment of cancer awareness for the Anglia populations covered by NHS Bedfordshire, NHS Peterborough, NHS Suffolk, NHS Great Yarmouth & Waveney, NHS Norfolk and NHS Cambridgeshire.

The Approach

The survey was carried out using a face-to-face interviewing methodology in order to ensure high quality data collection and target specific geographic locations and population segments.

The prescribed and validated CAM questionnaire was used to carry out the survey. The CAM questionnaire takes around 10 minutes to complete, and comprises of a series of structured and validated questions to assess issues such as:

  • Awareness of cancer symptoms and warning signs;
  • Awareness of most prevalent types of cancer in males and females;
  • Awareness of factors that may affect a persons risk of getting cancer;
  • Likelihood of seeking medical help/advice if experiencing possible symptoms.

The Results

Based on these findings, it is suggested that policy makers and commissioners in the Anglia region need to give consideration to the following:

  • Campaigns to raise awareness of both symptoms and warning signs, and lifestyle risk factors.
  • Communications to raise awareness of cancer screening programmes (particularly bowel cancer).
  • Specific campaigns targeted at males, young people/students, BME Groups, and lower Socio Economic Groups/deprived areas.
  • General need to provide reassurance in campaigns and communications to address the emotional barriers to visiting the doctor with potential symptoms – such as fear and embarrassment – particularly amongst young people and females.
  • Campaigns can be targeted by demographics towards the four segments identified as having specific issues, namely "GP avoiders", "Low symptom awareness", "emotional barriers", and "low awareness of screening programmes".

In addition these findings also provide a baseline for future comparisons to measure the impact of any action taken.

Further information about the research can be found here: Research Findings

Anglia Cancer NetworkLogo


"DJS did an excellent job for us within a very tight timescale at one of the most challenging times of the year – Christmas. When we asked if they could increase the scope of the survey they responded positively without hesitation, even although I suspect it wasn’t that easy to organise. We had good feedback and were pleased with the presentation of the report. I would definitely consider using them again and have already mentioned them to colleagues in other organisations".

Director, Anglia Cancer Network

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