Lay review guidelines | Cancer Research UK
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Lay review guidelines

Thank you for showing interest in becoming a lay reviewer for the Cancer Research UK patient information website. As the information is written specifically for people with cancer and their relatives, your input is very valuable to us in developing the site.

Each section of the website is reviewed every 18 months.  Reviews are alternately carried out externally and internally.  So a section is reviewed externally by our team of expert reviewers and the next time it is reviewed, it is done by cancer nurse specialists in our team and department. Each section has always been reviewed externally by at least 2 experts in cancer care before it is first put on the site. We also try to include 2 reviews done by people with direct experience of each cancer type, treatment type or issue.

As a reviewer, we would like you to make note of

  • The overall tone of the section
  • Anything we've left out
  • Anything you think is wrong
  • Anything that should be explained more clearly
  • Anything you think should be explained more briefly
  • Anything that you'd like more information on
  • Any tips you have for other patients
  • Diagrams or other illustrations you think we should include (sketches are welcome!)
  • Any areas of the section you decided not to review

Please remember that your input is important to us. You do not need to have any medical knowledge. In fact, we'd prefer it if you didn't. Our site isn't written for people who already know about medicine and cancer care, so you will be better able to judge it by not being an expert. The aim is for the information to be as clear and helpful to people with cancer and those close to them as it can be.

If there are any parts of the section that you don't want to read, just put them to one side and let us know that you have not reviewed them. For instance, some people who have been diagnosed with an early cancer do not want to read about treatment for advanced cases of the same cancer. We certainly wouldn't want you to read anything you did not feel comfortable with. If you would like to talk to someone after reading anything in your review section, you are welcome to call our cancer information nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040.

Please be assured that we will read and consider every comment you make. We cannot promise to implement all of them. Different people have different information needs and we have to balance those as best we can.

This website originated as a low literacy project. It is written in a style that is intended to be as accessible as possible for as many people as possible - even if their reading skills are not as good as they could be. This means that we deliberately use short sentences and bullet points. This breaks up the text and makes it easier to read. For the same reason, we do begin sentences with 'and' and 'but' (which is actually permissible grammatically!). We are proud to hold the Plain English Campaign Internet Crystal Mark.

If you would like to help us, we will send you a printed copy of the section you have agreed to review through the post, together with a stamped, addressed envelope for its return. Alternatively, you are welcome to look at the section on line. This is helpful even if you have a paper copy as you will see how the links work. But many people find it easier to read it through on paper and write their comments directly on the review copy as they go along.  If you don't want a paper copy, please say.  We are happy to receive your notes from viewing the site on line, as long as you are able to make it clear which page and subsection each note refers to.

If you cannot complete the review within 6 weeks of receiving the section, we'd be very grateful if you would let us know by emailing the manager of our review process on All contact details will also be included with your section.

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Updated: 10 November 2014