Breast Aware was a social marketing pilot project created by the National Health Service Tameside and Glossop (NHST&G) that aimed to increase breast awareness in women aged 35 to 50. This target audience was selected because younger women are not eligible for free breast screenings, and as such, are at higher risk for abnormalities going undetected. Initial research revealed that Ashton Hurst ward had some of the lowest rates for breast screening uptake and breast cancer survival, leading to its selection as the pilot area for this project. Before project design took place, an in-depth literature review was conducted to identify other work that had been done on breast awareness, cancer, and screening, as well as gather information on the target audience, UK policy, and examples of good practice. Surveys, interviews, and focus groups were also conducted to establish baselines for knowledge, awareness, and behaviors connected to breast awareness. This data collection process allowed the project design team to break the target audience into three distinct groups based on their behavior and create intervention strategies appropriate for each. The campaign launched in February 2010 with the installation of posters at bus stops and telephone kiosks that encouraged women to visit the project’s website for information on becoming breast aware. Information leaflets were made available to women at common venues including doctor’s offices, local shops, and fast-food outlets, and targeted mailings were sent to all local women in the target audience. In addition to print materials, a well women event was organized at a local community center and offered free health checks, beauty treatments, massages, bra fittings, and the opportunity to participate in yoga classes. Women who attended the event were also offered refreshments, a goody bag with branded items, and entered into a free prize drawing. The project also provided print materials and face-to-face training to practice nurses, health trainers, and community development workers to ensure breast awareness was regularly included in patient appointments. Evaluation of the pilot project was conducted via a post-survey administered to women in the target audience, in-depth face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders, and telephone interviews with women who attended the well women event. While the project achieved
its goal of getting women to be aware of their breasts and increasing women’s knowledge of and confidence in spotting the changes/abnormalities to look for, the project did not manage to meet its goal of getting women in Ashton Hurst to examine their breasts more regularly.
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