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ABACus: Awareness and beliefs about cancer

A health check project designed to test ways to improve cancer symptom awareness and help-seeking in Yorkshire’s deprived communities was completed in December 2020. The ABACus research project used a brief touchscreen questionnaire to ask members of the public aged over 40 in towns and cities including Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Wakefield about common cancer symptoms, cancer screening and risk factors.

Doctor in discussion with a patient during GP appointment

Personalised results and behaviour change advice, delivered in an easy to understand ‘traffic light’ system, were then delivered by trained lay advisors over a period of six months.

The research found that after six months, people could name more cancer symptoms and said they would see a doctor sooner if they noticed any possible symptoms. The study found that the health check is a simple way to improve the early detection of cancer, enabling more people to receive successful treatment.