Module 2: Population awareness and beliefs
This section provides more information on Module 2, the module looking at population awareness, attitudes and beliefs about cancer.
Module 2 is exploring the attitudes and beliefs the general public have towards cancer. Populations with lower cancer awareness and more negative beliefs about cancer outcomes may be more likely to delay seeing their doctor about any suspicious symptoms they may have. This in turn may lead to more advanced stage at cancer diagnosis and poorer survival.
Professors Amanda Ramirez (King’s College London) and Jane Wardle (University College London) co-chair and lead the work in this module. They work in close collaboration with scientists from all ICBP partner jurisdictions, forming an international research team.
Module 2 has recently provided the first robust international comparison of population awareness and beliefs about cancer. It tested the hypothesis that differences in the levels of cancer awareness and beliefs contribute to observed international differences in cancer survival. These results could potentially be used to identify target for interventions to address low cancer awareness and negative beliefs. Such interventions could include cancer awareness campaigns.
The Module 2 central team analysed the data on population awareness and beliefs, with support from statisticians. Key outputs include:
- robust international comparisons of the current state of population awareness and beliefs about cancer
- improved understanding of the association between cancer awareness and beliefs and survival
These outputs are presented in a paper, 'Differences in cancer awareness and beliefs between Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK (the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership): do they contribute to differences in cancer survival' published by the British Journal of Cancer.
You can find more information about this paper and access it free of charge on our publications page.
The ABC measure
The international Module 2 team has developed the Awareness and Beliefs about Cancer (ABC) survey instrument to assess the general public’s attitudes and beliefs about cancer.
The ABC is an international survey instrument which includes questions designed to find out more about:
- what individual people know about the signs and symptoms of cancer
- what their beliefs towards cancer treatment and outcomes are
- what might put people off from seeing their doctor
The questionnaire was first developed and tested in UK English. This process included in-depth interviews with a sample from the general public to probe whether the questions were easily understood and clear. Following the testing process in the UK, the team then developed a different version of the ABC for each ICBP partner jurisdiction. Each version has the same core questions but these have been translated, adapted and harmonised to make sure that they are relevant locally.
A paper written by the Module 2 central team, describing the development and testing of the ABC measure, was published in the BMJ Open. You can find more information about this paper and access it free of charge on our publications page.
The international market research provider Ipsos MORI conducted computer-assisted telephone interviews using the ABC instruments in each ICBP partner jurisdiction. They surveyed over 19,000 men and women aged 50 or over in Australia (New South Wales and Victoria), Canada, England, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Wales.
This fieldwork took place over a five month period from May – September 2011. In addition, some jurisdictions also surveyed younger people (men and women aged 35-43) or asked questions from three optional survey elements developed by the international team. These optional modules focus on:
- awareness of cancer risk factors
- awareness and beliefs about cancer screening
- awareness and beliefs about ovarian cancer
Module 2 governance
The ICBP Programme Board oversees the work of the Module 2 central team, which collaborates closely with a group of international partners. An academic reference group provides peer review on methodology, analyses and conclusions.
- Jane Wardle, University College London
- Amanda Ramirez, King's College London
- Alice Simon, City University London
- Lindsay Forbes, King's College London
- Australia (Victoria): Kerry Haynes, Melanie Wakefield
- Australia (New South Wales): Anita Dessaix, Donna Perez
- Canada: Lisa Petermann, Deb Keen
- Denmark: Line Hvidberg, Anette Pedersen, Christian Wulff & Peter Vedsted
- Northern Ireland: Conan Donnelly, Michael Donnelly
- Norway: Maria Vigmostad
- Sweden: Carol Tishelman, Magdalena Lagerlund
- Wales: Kate Brain
Academic reference Group
The independent academic reference group members are:
- Professor Neil Aaronson (the Netherlands)
- Dr Liesbeth van Osch (the Netherlands)
- Professor David Cella (USA)
- Professor Keith Petrie (New Zealand)
- Professor Henrik Moller (UK)
Survey field work provider
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team