An evaluation of the impact of large-scale interventions to raise public awareness of a lung cancer symptom

L. Ironmonger*, E. Ohuma, N. Ormiston-Smith, Carolynn Gildea, C. S. Thomson, Mick Peake

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Long-term lung cancer survival in England has improved little in recent years and is worse than many countries. The Department of Health funded a campaign to raise public awareness of persistent cough as a lung cancer symptom and encourage people with the symptom to visit their GP. This was piloted regionally within England before a nationwide rollout. Methods: To evaluate the campaign's impact, data were analysed for various metrics covering public awareness of symptoms and process measures, through to diagnosis, staging, treatment and 1-year survival (available for regional pilot only). Results: Compared with the same time in the previous year, there were significant increases in metrics including: public awareness of persistent cough as a lung cancer symptom; urgent GP referrals for suspected lung cancer; and lung cancers diagnosed. Most encouragingly, there was a 3.1 percentage point increase (P<0.001) in proportion of non-small cell lung cancer diagnosed at stage I and a 2.3 percentage point increase (P<0.001) in resections for patients seen during the national campaign, with no evidence these proportions changed during the control period (P=0.404, 0.425). Conclusions: To our knowledge, the data are the first to suggest a shift in stage distribution following an awareness campaign for lung cancer. It is possible a sustained increase in resections may lead to improved long-term survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Volume112
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the many dedicated individuals within the organisations listed below for supplying data, feedback and other useful information to complete the evaluation of the Be Clear on Cancer lung campaign. Cancer Research UK, Department of Health (DH), the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset team, Health Quality Improvement Partnership, National Lung Cancer Audit team at the Health and Social Care Information Centre, NHS England, Mayden, Public Health England’s Knowledge and Intelligence Team (East Midlands) and National Cancer Intelligence Network, and TNS BMRB. We would also like to thank the referees for their helpful comments. LI’s, EO’s, NOS’s and formerly CST’s host institution, Cancer Research UK, was funded by the DH to carry out the evaluation for Be Clear on Cancer campaigns running until the end of March 2013. At the time of analysis, CG’s host institution, Public Health England’s Knowledge and Intelligence Team (East Midlands) was funded by the National Cancer Intelligence Network to carry out the analysis of Cancer Waiting Times data, although subsequent organisational changes mean they are now two teams within the same Directorate of Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Cancer Research UK.

Keywords

  • awareness
  • health campaign
  • lung cancer
  • persistent cough
  • stage
  • symptoms

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