• 30Sep

    Geographical variations in cancer symptom awareness across England

    The British Journal of Cancer has published a study highlighting that low cancer awareness is associated with lower survival rates, looking at awareness and barrier rates by PCT.

    The authors looked at population-based surveys (n=35 308).

    Using the Cancer Research UK Cancer Awareness Measure, they calculated the age- and sex- symptom awareness and barriers scores for 52 primary care trusts (PCTs).

    These measures were evaluated in relation to the sex-, age-, and type of cancer. Breast, lung, and bowel cancer survival were analysed separately.

    The study found that cancer symptom awareness and barriers scores varied greatly between geographical regions in England.

    The lowest cancer awareness scores were observed in Tower Hamlets (4.8), Newham (5.5), Redbridge (6.4), Gloucestershire (6.5), and Lambeth (6.5). The highest awareness scores were observed in Peterborough (8.3), Bedfordshire (8.1), Great Yarmouth and Waveney (8.1), and Cambridgeshire (8.0)

    The highest barriers scores were observed in Tower Hamlets (3.1), Kirklees (3.1), Bradford and Airedale (3.0), and Newham (2.7). The lowest barriers scores were observed in North Tyneside (0.6), Northamptonshire (0.8), Newcastle (0.9), and Herefordshire (1.1)

    Low cancer awareness score was associated with poor cancer survival at PCT.

    The barriers score was not associated with overall cancer survival, but it was associated with breast cancer survival. Specific barriers, such as embarrassment and difficulties in arranging transport to the doctor’s surgery, were associated with worse breast cancer survival.

    The full study can be read here.

    Is cancer survival associated with cancer symptom awareness and barriers to seeking medical help in England? An ecological study

    Maja Niksic, Bernard Rachet, Stephen W Duffy, Manuela Quaresma, Henrik Møller and Lindsay JL Forbes

    British Journal of Cancer (2016) 115, 876–886 | doi: 10.1038/bjc.2016.24