Impact of the Talk Cancer programme

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Cancer Research UK supports GPs to deliver best practice. We have created a central resources hub for Health Professionals which hosts all of our CRUK resources and further materials to help with managing the pandemic. We are updating the information as guidance changes. There is also a page specifically for patients on our about cancer hub.

Health Professional COVID-19 and Cancer Hub

Talk cancer event

Talk Cancer was launched in 2012 to create positive, sustainable change in how people talk and think about cancer. 

We evaluate every workshop and course run to measure the impact of our programme, to make sure that what we deliver is as effective as possible and offers our trainees value for timeTalk Cancer training has shown to have consistently high impact on trainees' confidence and knowledge to raise cancer awareness since its launch in 2012.

We use surveys to find out about trainees' knowledge and attitudes around cancer and confidence to discuss it before and after workshops.

This ongoing evaluation shows that Talk Cancer has consistently high impact for participants by:

  • increasing their knowledge of cancer risk factors
  • increasing their knowledge of NHS Cancer Screening Programmes
  • breaking down negative beliefs about cancer
  • increasing their confidence in talking about different aspects of cancer with the public

Some evaluation highlights from 2018-19 include:


“Really enjoyed the session - trainers very knowledgeable, great approach, liked the simple metaphors - feel I've learned a lot but feel more positive about cancer”
“This was beyond my expectations. The trainers were EXCELLENT”

We use surveys to find out about learners' knowledge and attitudes around cancer and confidence to discuss it before and after doing the online course.

This ongoing evaluation shows that the Talking About Cancer online course has consistently high impact for participants by:

  • increasing their knowledge of cancer, risk factors, the importance of early diagnosis and cancer screening
  • boosting their confidence to talk openly and effectively about cancer and health with others
  • equipping them with the skills to signpost to appropriate local services

Some evaluation highlights from 2018-19 include:

Thank you so much for a wonderful course. I am now more at ease with talking about cancer or any other long term disease with others” – Jo-Ann, learner
The course has surpassed my expectations not only for the valuable information related to cancer and awareness, also to the transferable ideas and tools provided…I feel much more confident in talking about cancer with others” – Debbie, allied health assistant
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Christina is a pharmacist.

She attended a Talk Cancer training workshop in 2015.

“I didn't think it would be very personal. I thought it would be 'just another lecture'.

I learnt a lot, especially about the psychology of why people don't go to the doctor with symptoms they might be worried about. I always think about 'red flag' symptoms, but it was useful to get some tips on bringing this up with customers, and what I could say to people to encourage them.
After the training, I encouraged a man with a persistent dry cough to visit his doctor. I knew this customer quite well as he regularly visited the pharmacy for medication. Four weeks later when the man came back, the cough was now productive. The training was in the front of my mind, so I suggested "it might be something more serious, so I would get it checked out by your doctor".
At first he said he didn't want to bother the doctor, but I encouraged him to go. When he next visited the pharmacy, he told me he had been to the doctor. His GP had referred him for urgent tests, where he was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. I believe he's now finished his chemo and is feeling back to normal. Hopefully he will be in the clear now.
And just the other week I had a conversation with a lady who was complaining of arm pain. I asked her if it was normal for her to have this pain and she said it wasn't, so I encouraged her to go see her doctor. I know she has since been diagnosed with breast cancer, so hopefully this was caught early.
I've also been ordering lots of Cancer Research UK leaflets about different cancer types - I try to put these in the prescription bags, and have encouraged my colleagues to do the same. I think all pharmacies should have Talk Cancer training at least once a year. It really can help pharmacists to feel more comfortable talking about cancer."
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Gary is a mental health researcher and cancer survivor.

He did the Talking About Cancer online course in 2017.

“When I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma in 2010 I knew very little about cancer. I had a great oncologist but he never explained what cancer was. He simply told me I had kidney cancer and my kidney had to be removed. But that’s all it was - ‘cancer’ - it was just simply a word. 
I have all this background education, yet I didn’t know how to talk to other people about cancer. [The course] gave me the confidence, as well as the competence, to discuss cancer with others. This is the first step towards health literacy. This course is providing me the framework to engage people in talking about cancer and other health issues. 
I’m not running out there saying “hey, I’m this specialist in cancer”; I was just able to take a very difficult subject and really help others to understand it. Explaining what it is, and then how to talk about it. Not being fearful to talk about the ‘c word’. That was the main area, to really understand what cancer is. One of the most significant points made in the course was cancer isn’t a death sentence and there are things we can do to live healthier lives.
After taking this course, I was empowered to do something. I mean do something hands-on. In just a short time I became very comfortable talking about cancer and explaining why it was important to get that diagnosis and get it early.”

We’re now on twitter.

Join the conversation and follow @TalkCancer_CRUK for news, updates and opinion.


Contact the Talk Cancer team

Got questions? Chat to a member of the team.

020 3469 8111

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