The Cancer Awareness Measures (CAM)


Latest CAM Key Findings

See our 2016 report and trends analysis (2008-2014)

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What is the Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM)?

The Cancer Awareness Measure is a validated set of questions designed to reliably assess awareness of cancer among the general population. This was developed to address the lack of a validated measure for awareness of cancer and inconsistencies in measurement.

The measure includes warning signs, help-seeking, risk factors, cancer and age and NHS screening programmes.

The CAM can be used at national, regional and local levels to monitor/track awareness over time, compare between groups, identify information needs, and monitor the impact of awareness-raising interventions.

You do not need to request permission to  download the Cancer Awareness Measure or other cancer specific versions of the measure.

Please note, in 2014 the CAM was modified; specifically items were added, amended and deleted. This version of the survey has not been validated. If you would like to request a copy of the updated CAM, please email, or you can use the existing validated version.

Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM)

Bowel Cancer CAM

Breast Cancer CAM

Cervical Cancer CAM

Lung Cancer CAM

Ovarian Cancer CAM

Interested in existing CAM data?

Data was first collected in Great Britain in 2008. Further waves of data collection were carried out in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Data is available to download for research purposes from the UK Data Archive.

The CAM was first was developed by Cancer Research UK, University College London, King’s College London and University of Oxford in 2007-8.

The site specific measures for Breast, Colorectal/Bowel, Cervical, Lung and Ovarian cancer were developed with the support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action, The Eve Appeal, Ovacome, Target Ovarian Cancer and the Department of Health.

Studies support the validity of the CAMs as measures of cancer awareness in the general population:

Development of a measurement tool to assess public awareness of cancer (British Journal of Cancer 2009)

Validation of a measurement tool to assess awareness of breast cancer (European Journal of Cancer, 2010)

Awareness of colorectal cancer: Measure development and results from a population survey (BMC Cancer, 2011)

Knowledge of lung cancer symptoms and risk factors in the UK: development of a measure and results from a population-based survey (Thorax, 2012)

Ovarian and cervical cancer awareness: development of two validated measurement tools (Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, 2012)

Latest findings from the Cancer Awareness Measure show that on average people anticipate three barriers to seeing the GP. Barriers are more likely to be related to the service than to GP patient relations with the most commonly perceived barriers being finding it difficult to get an appointment with a particular doctor (42 percent), or at a convenient time (42 percent) and disliking having to talk to GP receptionists about symptoms (40 percent).

The analyses also shed light on other barriers that people anticipate could put them off seeing their GP. While it's not clear how significant these barriers are for actual help-seeking behaviour, greater understanding of what people perceive to be important can help inform ways to tackle barriers and support people seeking help for symptoms at the earliest opportunity.

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Last reviewed

Our latest research on anticipated barriers to visiting the GP

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