Incorporating a brief intervention for personalised cancer risk assessment to promote behaviour change into primary care: a multi-methods pilot study

Approximately 40% of cancers could be prevented if people lived healthier lifestyles. This non-randomised pilot study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of a brief intervention to share personalised cancer risk information and promote behaviour change within primary care. Patients eligible for a NHS (the UK public healthcare system) Health Check or annual chronic disease review at five general practices were invited to participate. In addition to their health review, participants were given their estimated risk of developing the most common preventable cancers and tailored behaviour change advice. Patients completed online questionnaires at baseline, post-consultation and at 3-month follow-up. Post-intervention qualitative interviews were also conducted with a small number of participants and healthcare professionals (HCPs). Questionnaire data showed potential improvements in health-related behaviours following the intervention. Patients found the cancer risk information and lifestyle advice understandable, useful and motivating. HCPs felt that the intervention fitted well within Health Checks and facilitated conversations around behaviour change, however found it challenging to integrate into chronic disease reviews. A randomised trial is now needed to assess the potential positive effect such an intervention may have on participant’s health behaviours.

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