Reviewing the impact of 11 national Be Clear on Cancer public awareness campaigns, England 2012-2016: a synthesis of published evaluation results

Bladder Cancer

Int J Cancer. 2020 Sep 1. doi: 10.1002/ijc.33277. Online ahead of print.


The Be Clear on Cancer (BCoC) campaigns have run in England since 2010. They aim to raise awareness of possible cancer symptoms, encouraging people to consult the GP with these symptoms. This study provides an overview of the impact of 11 national campaigns, for bowel, lung, bladder and kidney, breast and oesophago-gastric cancers. We synthesised existing results for each campaign covering seven clinical metrics across the patient pathway, from primary care attendances to one-year net survival.

For each metric, "before" and "after" periods were compared to assess change potentially related to the campaign. Results show that primary care attendances for campaign-related symptoms increased for 9/10 campaigns and relevant urgent referrals for suspected cancer increased above general trends for 9/11 campaigns. Diagnostic tests increased for 6/11 campaigns. For 7/11 campaigns, there were increases in cancer diagnoses resulting from an urgent referral for suspected cancer. There were sustained periods where more cancers were diagnosed than expected for 8/10 campaigns, with higher than expected proportions diagnosed at an early stage for sustained periods for 4/10 campaigns. There was no impact on survival. In summary, there is evidence that BCoC campaigns impact help-seeking by patients and referral patterns by general practitioners, with some impact on diagnosis (incidence and stage). There was no clear evidence of impact on survival.