Be Clear on Cancer campaigns have been developed to improve early diagnosis by raising awareness of the symptoms of cancer and encouraging people with those symptoms to see their GP early. The Be Clear on Cancer brand has been used to promote awareness and early diagnosis of specific cancer types since January 2011.
Regional awareness campaign
The ovarian cancer local campaign was developed using the Be Clear on Cancer branding and ran from 14 January to17 March 2013. The programme is led by Public Health England, working in partnership with the Department of Health and NHS England. Each campaign is tested locally and then regionally, with a view to rolling them out nationally if they prove to be effective.
For each Be Clear on Cancer campaign there is a comprehensive evaluation process. Data is collected on a number of metrics to reflect possible campaign impact. These include whether campaigns are raising awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer; more people are going to their GPs with the symptoms highlighted by the campaign; more people are being referred urgently for suspected cancer; there is an increase in diagnostic activity; those referred urgently for suspected cancer are diagnosed with cancer; there are increases in the number of cancers diagnosed and if there is evidence of a shift towards earlier stage disease.
The initial evidence has shown an overwhelming success. Nine in ten (89 per cent) women agreed that the advertising made them more likely to go to the GP if they had any of the symptoms featured in the campaign. This was the highest level across all regional Be Clear on Cancer pilots. One in three (35 per cent) women who had seen the campaign had taken some action as a result, also at the highest level of all the regional pilots.
Annwen Jones, Chief Executive for Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “The initial results from the Be Clear on Cancer regional pilot for ovarian cancer have shown overwhelming positive evidence that the campaign successfully raised women’s awareness. In fact, the ovarian cancer campaign was the most successful of all the regional pilots. Overall the campaign saw a 40 per cent increase in confidence in the knowledge of symptoms, and nine in ten women agreed that the advertising made them more likely to take action.
“Even though women were made more aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, this has yet to translate into an increase in earlier diagnosis, showing that GPs clearly aren’t getting the support they need and access to appropriate diagnostic tests.
“The key to ensuring that more women are diagnosed early is awareness. The campaign clearly delivered this, and we are calling for a commitment to launch a national ovarian cancer awareness campaign.”