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

Usher-Smith, J.A., Silarova, B., Ward, A., Youell, J., Muir, K.R., Campbell, J., Warcaba, J. (2017) Incorporating cancer risk information into general practice: A qualitative study using focus groups with health professionals. British Journal of General Practice, 67 (656). e218-e226. ISSN 0960-1643. (doi:10.3399/bjgp17X689401) (KAR id:98061)


Background It is estimated that approximately 40 of all cases of cancer are attributable to lifestyle factors. Providing people with personalised information about their future risk of cancer may help promote behaviour change. Aim To explore the views of health professionals on incorporating personalised cancer risk information, based on lifestyle factors, into general practice. Design and setting Qualitative study using data from six focus groups with a total of 24 general practice health professionals from the NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group in England. Method The focus groups were guided by a schedule covering current provision of lifestyle advice relating to cancer and views on incorporating personalised cancer risk information. Data were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and then analysed using thematic analysis. Results Providing lifestyle advice was viewed as a core activity within general practice but the influence of lifestyle on cancer risk was rarely discussed. The word 'cancer' was seen as a potentially powerful motivator for lifestyle change but the fact that it could generate health anxiety was also recognised. Most focus group participants felt that a numerical risk estimate was more likely to influence behaviour than generic advice. All felt that general practice should provide this information, but there was a clear need for additional resources for it to be offered widely. Conclusion Study participants were in support of providing personalised cancer risk information in general practice. The findings highlight a number of potential benefits and challenges that will inform the future development of interventions in general practice to promote behaviour change for cancer prevention. © 2017 British Journal of General Practice.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3399/bjgp17X689401
Additional information: cited By 13
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Personal Social Services Research Unit
Funders: Cancer Research UK (
Depositing User: George Austin-Coskry
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2022 15:53 UTC
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2022 10:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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