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Abdominal cancer symptoms: evaluation of the impact of a regional public awareness campaign.

Torrance, Nicola; Bright, Chloe J.; Hill, Helen L.; Fergusson, Jennie; Kennedy, Catriona; Mak, Vivian; Gildea, Carolynn; Nordin, Andy; Elliss-Brookes, Lucy


Nicola Torrance

Chloe J. Bright

Helen L. Hill

Jennie Fergusson

Vivian Mak

Carolynn Gildea

Andy Nordin

Lucy Elliss-Brookes


Objective: A regional ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ (BCoC) campaign developed by Public Health England aimed to promote public awareness of key abdominal cancer symptoms in people aged 50 years and over. Methods: Data were analysed for metrics at different stages in the patient care pathway including public awareness, GP attendance and referrals, to cancer diagnosis. Results: There was significantly higher recognition of the BCoC abdominal campaign in the campaign region compared to the control area (Post Campaign/Control, n = 401/406; 35% vs. 24%, p [less than] 0.05). The campaign significantly improved knowledge of ‘bloating’ as a symptom (p = 0.03) compared to pre-campaign levels. GP attendances for abdominal symptoms increased significantly by 5.8% (p = 0. 03), although the actual increase per practice was small (average 16.8 visits per week in 2016 to 17.7 in 2017). Urgent GP referrals for suspected abdominal cancer increased by 7.6%, compared to a non-significant change (0.05%) in the control area. For specific abdominal cancers, the number diagnosed were similar to or higher than the median in the campaign area but not in the control area in people aged 50 and over: colorectal (additional n = 61 cancers), pancreatic (additional n = 102) and stomach cancers (additional n = 17). Conclusions: This campaign had a modest impact on public awareness of abdominal cancer symptoms, GP attendances and cancers diagnosed.


TORRANCE, N., BRIGHT, C.J., HILL, H.L., FERGUSSON, J., KENNEDY, C., MAK, V., GILDEA, C., NORDIN, A. and ELLISS-BROOKES, L. 2021. Abdominal cancer symptoms: evaluation of the impact of a regional public awareness campaign. European journal of cancer care [online], 30(6), e13500. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2021
Publication Date Nov 30, 2021
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Aug 20, 2021
Journal European journal of cancer care
Print ISSN 0961-5423
Electronic ISSN 1365-2354
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 6
Article Number e13500
Keywords Abdominal symptoms; Cancer awareness; Health promotion; Public health
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