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Can cancer risk information raise awareness without increasing anxiety? A randomized trial

Robb, KA; Miles, A; Campbell, J; Evans, P; Wardle, J; (2006) Can cancer risk information raise awareness without increasing anxiety? A randomized trial. PREV MED , 43 (3) 187 - 190. 10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.04.015. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective. Promoting public awareness of cancer risk factors is an important public health goal, but there is concern that it could heighten anxiety. This study examined the impact of mailed information about colorectal cancer on awareness of risk factors, emotional well-being, and interest in attending screening in a population not previously exposed to screening.Method. Individuals (3,185) aged 45-66 years registered with general practitioners in South-West England in 2004 were randomized to (1) control group (no information), (2) information on colorectal cancer risk factors, or (3) information on risk factors and colorectal screening. All participants were sent a questionnaire assessing knowledge, anxiety, worry about colorectal cancer, and interest in screening.Results. Questionnaires (1,945; 61%) were returned. As expected, participants receiving information had significantly greater knowledge than the control group. Anxiety scores were in the normal range and neither anxiety nor worry about cancer differed significantly between the groups. Ninety-three percent of respondents indicated they would be interested in screening, with equally high levels across groups.Conclusion. This study suggests that information leaflets can promote knowledge of cancer risk factors without increasing anxiety. Low-cost educational materials have the potential to contribute to public engagement with health promotion and disease prevention. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: Can cancer risk information raise awareness without increasing anxiety? A randomized trial
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.04.015
Keywords: cancer risk information, psychological well-being, colorectal cancer, cancer awareness
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2903
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