Lay review guidelines

Cancer Research UK's About cancer information is written for people with cancer and their family and friends.

You are welcome to become a lay reviewer if you have been affected by cancer. For example, you, a family member, your partner, or a close friend has had a cancer diagnosis. You must be aged 18 or older.  

How we review our information

We aim to review every page of the website every 2 to 3 years. Reviews are alternately carried out by external cancer specialist reviewers and by the Patient Information Web Team.

We also try to include reviews by people with direct experience of the subject of the page, such as the type of cancer, treatment, or ways of coping.

What we would like you to do

As a lay reviewer, we ask you to read the information (or look at a video or other visual content) and make note of:

  • the overall tone of the content
  • anything we've left out
  • anything you think is wrong
  • anything that could be explained more clearly
  • anything you think should be explained more briefly
  • anything that you'd like more detail about
  • any tips you have for other patients or relatives
  • extra diagrams or other illustrations you think we should include - you are welcome to sketch them
  • any areas that you decided not to review

Your input is very important to us. You don't need to have any medical knowledge. In fact, it is great if you don't. Our site aims to be understandable to people who have no knowledge of medical issues or cancer care. So it is very valuable if you are completely new to health or patient information. 

The aim is for the information to be as clear and helpful as possible to people with cancer and those close to them.

You can put aside any parts of the information that you don't want to look at and then let us know that you haven't reviewed them.

For instance, some people who have been diagnosed with an early cancer don't want to read about treatment for advanced cancer. We only want you to check information that you feel comfortable with.

You are welcome to call our cancer information nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 if you would like to talk to someone after looking at anything that you review for us.

Please be assured that we will read and consider every comment that you make. We can't promise to include them all. Different people have different information needs and we need to balance them as best we can.

About the information

Our patient information pages started as a low literacy project. They are written in a style that aims to be as accessible and inclusive as possible for as many people as possible. We aim to make the information easy to read, even for people who find reading difficult. 

So we deliberately use short sentences and bullet points. This breaks up the text and makes it easier to read. For the same reason, we sometimes begin sentences with 'and' and 'but'. Some people say that this is not correct grammar, but it helps to make the information clearer. We are proud to hold the Plain English Campaign Internet Crystal Mark.

Our patient information pages also display the Trusted Information Creator Kitemark (TICK). The Patient Information Forum (PIF) award this to organisations who have passed a thorough yearly assessment. It shows that our information has met a number of different criteria and that it:

  • is evidence-based and up to date
  • involves users
  • is easy to use

How you can help us

If you would like to become a reviewer, we can send you one or more of the following:

  • a word document of the website information that you can comment on and track your changes
  • a printed copy of the information through the post, together with a stamped, addressed envelope to return it in
  • a link to a video or animation on the website and you can then email us your comments

Looking at the information online can be helpful as you will see how the links work. But many people find it easier to read content through on paper and write their comments directly on the review copy as they go along. Let us know what would work best for you to review the information. 

Please tell us about any possible conflict of interest you might have in relation to reviewing this information, such as relationships with medical organisations or health related committees.

We ask you to let us know if you can't complete the review within 6 weeks of receiving it. You can email the manager of our review process on All contact details will also be included with the information that we send to you.

Thank you for showing interest in becoming a lay reviewer for the Cancer Research UK patient information website. Your feedback is invaluable to us.

Last reviewed: 
01 Dec 2020
Next review due: 
01 Dec 2021

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