Find Cancer Early

Cancer Council Western Australia (WA) created the Find Cancer Early campaign in 2011 to increase awareness of the common signs and symptoms of breast, bowl, lung, and prostate cancers among residents in three rural regions of WA. In addition to raising awareness, the campaign also sought to encourage individuals to see a doctor in the event they found that they were experiencing symptoms. Research during the early stages of development helped to define the target demographic, people 40 years or older, and led to the selection of intervention and control regions, which were selected based on population size, demographics, socioeconomic status, and cancer incidence. Findings from an in-depth literature review of other, similar studies provided the foundation for the campaign’s tagline and educational materials. Posters, banners, symptom checklists, postcards, and radio advertisements framed messaging to focus on the positives associated with early detection and made use of simple, non-medical terms and imagery relevant to the target audience. In addition to print and radio, a campaign website was created as well as a DVD featuring health professionals and rural community members discussing the common signs and symptoms of the cancers and what to do if symptoms were detected. Over the two-year campaign, local campaign officers were responsible for establishing relationships with community organizations and local media in order to deliver campaign messages and activities. Computer-assisted telephone interviews with members of the target audience residing in both intervention and control regions were conducted to gauge the campaign’s success in raising awareness. Total awareness (prompted and unprompted) was 61.4% in the campaign regions compared to 20.4% in the control regions. Of those who were aware of the campaign, almost half (46.9%) thought about doing something, and more than a third (34.3%) reported doing something as a result of exposure to the campaign.

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