TIC-TOC - Targeted Intensive Community-based Campaign To Optimise Cancer Awareness
Right now, Wales is amongst the lowest performing countries in Europe for cancer survival. One reason for this is the length of time taken from when symptoms first develop to being seen by a healthcare professional (usually a GP). This is particularly true for the 50% of cancer patients who have vague symptoms, such as weight loss or fatigue. The recent establishment of Rapid Diagnostic Centres (RDCs), one-stop centres where a battery of tests can be conducted to assess patients with vague symptoms within a week of seeing their GP, marks an important step to improving cancer outcomes in Wales. However, patients can only be referred to RDCs if they visit their GP in the first instance.
This Cancer Research Wales funded trial is investigating the feasibility of a new campaign to raise awareness of cancer symptoms, particularly vague symptoms, and encourage people to visit their GP if they display these symptoms. Professor Kate Brain's and Dr Grace McCutchan’s team have created information materials and trained community cancer champions to deliver their messages directly to people in deprived areas over a 6-month period. The team will then analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign and the success of reaching the target communities, using interviews, questionnaires and data from Rapid Diagnostic Centres.
The trial should give insight into the ability of such a campaign to improve cancer awareness, but also the feasibility of conducting the campaign and collecting the necessary data to assess its impact. The success of many traditional cancer awareness campaigns is often limited and any benefits short-lived. TIC-TOC aims to create impact that’s felt for longer and reach that is more widespread, by empowering people to look out for their own health. If successful, this trial will inform future large-scale rollout of similar awareness campaigns and will potentially influence national practice and policy regarding behavioural interventions in deprived areas.