The Cancer Awareness Measures (CAM)

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What is the Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM)?

The Cancer Awareness Measure is a questionnaire designed to assess awareness of cancer among the general population.

The measure includes awareness of warning signs and symptoms, risk factors, attitudes towards help-seeking, awareness of the link between cancer and age, and awareness of the NHS bowel screening programme.

The CAM can be used at national levels in Great Britain to monitor awareness over time, compare awareness and attitudes between groups, identify information needs, and monitor the impact of awareness-raising interventions.

Findings

  • In 2017, people recall an average of three warning signs and symptoms of cancer, and recognise seven.[1]
  • Lump, bleeding, bowel/bladder change are commonly recalled and recognised in 2017.[1] Previous analysis has shown.[2]
  • Men recall and recognise fewer signs and symptoms of cancer than women.
  • Those aged under 50 recognise fewer signs and symptoms of cancer than those aged over 50, there is no difference in recall.[3]
  • People in the lowest SES group recall and recognise fewer signs and symptoms of cancer than those in the highest SES group.[3]
  • There is no difference in number of symptom recall or recognition between England and Scotland or between England and Wales.[3]
  • Those with some experience of cancer recall and recognise more signs and symptoms of cancer than those with no experience of cancer.[3]

Source:

[1] Cancer Awareness Measure 2017: Key findings

[2] Robb K, Stubbings S, Ramirez A et al. Public awareness of cancer in Britain: a population-based survey of adults. Brit J Cancer 2009; 101,S18 – S23.

[3] Cancer Research UK’s 2014 report and trends analysis (2008-2014)

  • People recall around three risk factors for cancer, and recognise nearly seven in 2017.[1]
  • Smoking, alcohol and sunburn were commonly recalled and recognised in 2017.[1] Previous analysis has shown.[2]
  • Men and women recall and recognise the same amount of risk factors for cancer.[3]
  • Age does not affect the amount of cancer risk factors recalled or recognised.[3]
  • People in the lowest SES group recall and recognise fewer risk factors for cancer than those in the highest SES group.[3]
  • Those living in Scotland recall fewer risk factors for cancer than those living in England but recognition not differ by country.[3]
  • Those with some experience of cancer recall and recognise more risk factors for cancer than those with no experience of cancer.[3]

Source:

[1] Cancer Awareness Measure 2017: Key findings

[2] Robb K, Stubbings S, Ramirez A et al. Public awareness of cancer in Britain: a population-based survey of adults. Brit J Cancer 2009; 101,S18 – S23.

[3] Cancer Research UK’s 2014 report and trends analysis (2008-2014)

  • In 2017 on average, people agree that around three barriers might put them off going to the doctor.[1]
  • Finding it difficult to get an appointment at a convenient time, finding it difficult to get an appointment with a particular doctor, and not liking having to talk to the GP receptionist about symptoms are the most common barriers.[1]
  • Women report more barriers than men.[2]
  • People under 50 report more barriers than those over 50.[2]
  • SES is not associated with the number of barriers reported.[2]
  • Those living in Scotland report more barriers than those living in England, but there was no difference between England and Wales.[2]
  • Experience of cancer does not affect the number of barriers or the type of barriers reported.[2]

Source:

[1] Cancer Awareness Measure 2017: Key findings

[2] Moffat J, Hinchliffe R, Ironmonger L, et al. Identifying anticipated barriers to help-seeking to promote earlier diagnosis of cancer in Great Britain. Public Health 2016; 141, 120-125.

  • Around six in 10 people are aware of the NHS bowel cancer screening programme in 2017.[1]
  • Nearly 9 in 10 people are aware of the bowel cancer screening programme when of an eligible age (55-74 years of age) in GB.[1]
  • Awareness is lower in men, people under 50, in people with no experience of cancer, people in in lowest SES group.[2]
  • Awareness is higher in those in Scotland than England.[2]
  • In England and Wales there is no difference in awareness of those of an eligible age by sex, country or experience of cancer but awareness was lower in people in the lowest SES group.[2]
  • In Scotland there is no difference in awareness of those of an eligible age by sex, country, experience of cancer or SES.[2]

Source:

[1] Cancer Awareness Measure 2017: Key findings

[2] Cancer Research UK’s 2014 report and trends analysis (2008-2014)

  • Analysis of trends over time in 2016 indicated that the average number of signs and symptoms of cancer recalled peaked in 2012 and then fell slightly in 2014. Overall, recall was slightly higher in 2014 than in 2008.[2]
  • The average number of signs and symptoms recognised remained the same from 2008 to 2012 at but there was an increase in 2014.[2]
  • The average number of risk factors recalled increased year-on-year between 2008 and 2012 but then decreased slightly in 2014.[2]
  • Awareness of the bowel cancer screening programme increased year-on-year, more than doubled from 2008 to 2014,[2] and plateaued in 2017.[1]
  • Analysis of trends over time in 2016 showed that awareness of the bowel screening programme in those eligible in England and Wales (60-74) increased year-on-year and more than doubled from 2008 to 2014.[2]
  • Awareness of the bowel screening programme in those eligible in Scotland (50-74) increased from 2008 to 2010 and more than doubled from 2008-2014 so that in 2014, all eligible responders were aware.[2]
  • Awareness of the bowel cancer screening programme among those currently eligible (aged 55-74 year olds) in GB has remained similar in 2017 compared with 2014.[1]
  • Of those who were aware of the programme, awareness that people are invited to bowel cancer screening in England and Wales at age 60 doubled between 2008 and 2014, although a consistent proportion of responders continue to believe it is age 55.[2]
  • Of those who were aware of the programme, awareness that people are invited to bowel cancer screening in Scotland at age 50 increased between 2008 and 2014, although a proportion of responders continue to believe it is age 60.[2]

Source:

[1] Cancer Awareness Measure 2017: Key findings

[2] Cancer Research UK’s 2014 report and trends analysis (2008-2014)

Use and history

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.

Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM) – modified version used since 2014

Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM) – validated version used prior to 2014

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 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)

Contact Us

Email us for more information or any questions about the CAM

Our latest research on anticipated barriers to visiting the GP

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