Incorporating cancer risk information into general practice: a qualitative study using focus groups with health professionals

Up to 40% of all cancers are attributable to lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol intake, diet and weight. There are a number of risk tools which incorporate known risk factors to predict individuals’ risk of cancer. Unlike risk tools for other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, the risk tools for cancer have not yet been incorporated into routine practice in primary care. This study was designed to explore health professionals’ views on cancer risk tools to inform future interventions to promote the integration of these tools in common practice. The focus group discussions revealed that most health promotion and lifestyle advice was provided by practice nurses during the NHS Health Check programme. This is a free health check-up for adults between 40 and 74 years old. Participants felt that providing personalised risk might be more likely to change lifestyle behaviour than generic risk information. Additionally, using the word ‘cancer’ may also be more likely to motivate lifestyle change. Participants also felt that making the risk information and tools more available would be beneficial. This could allow individuals to access their own risk but this should be supported by videos or other material to help users interpret the results. This is the first study to investigate the views of health professionals on integrating cancer risk tools into general practice in the UK. Read the full article here.
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