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The cancer communication and screening research group is part of Cancer Research UK's Health Behaviour Research Centre (HBRC) based in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL. Our research is focused on enhancing the public's understanding of cancer and promoting public engagement with cancer screening, and other forms of early detection, through increasing the effectiveness of cancer communications. The goals are to use health psychology and decision-making theory to increase public awareness of cancer risk factors, how cancer develops and the potential for cancer prevention, and to maximise screening participation across all socio-economic status and ethnic groups. In addition we aim to advance theory and methodology in cancer communications research. The main research contexts are colorectal cancer screening, human papillomavirus testing and vaccination, and early diagnosis of gynaecological cancers with a mixed programme of laboratory and community studies.

The Cancer and Lay Models (CALM) project is currently examining expert and lay causal models of cancer, and has developed and validated a measure of cancer knowledge (the Cancer Awareness Measure), as well as site-specific versions for a range of cancers. Through examining discrepancies between expert and lay models of cancer, we hope to develop improved methods of communicating with the public about cancer, with an emphasis on the preventability of cancer.

Our project on Promoting Action in Screening Participation (PRO-ACT) aims to determine the factors that prevent people from taking part in screening, despite expressing interest in participation (a group referred to as 'inclined abstainers'). We are currently examining factors that influence action rather than just intention to act, and we are developing and evaluating interventions to promote intention-translation with the goal of increasing participation rates for colorectal cancer screening.

We are continuing to research public knowledge and attitudes to HPV testing and vaccination following the introduction of HPV vaccination for adolescent girls in 2008, as well as barriers to participation in conventional cervical cytology screening.

With funding from the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), we are developing and evaluating a primary-care based intervention to promote early presentation among women with possible gynaecological cancer symptoms. This strand of research is being further developed by a post-doctoral fellowship to explore symptom interpretation as a means of understanding time to help-seeking. Professor Jane Wardle, lab head, is also deputy director of the Department of Health's Policy Research Unit on cancer awareness, screening and early diagnosis, a collaboration with Queen Mary's University London, King's College London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as well colleagues in the Epidemiology and Public Health and Primary Care and Population Health departments at UCL.

Lab head: Professor Jane Wardle

Senior Research Associates: Dr Christian von Wagner, Dr Jo Waller

Post-doctoral research associates: Dr Siu Hing Lo, Dr Ana Macedo, Dr Laura Marlow, Dr Lesley McGregor, Dr Kathryn Robb, Dr Gemma Vart, Dr Katriina Whitaker, Charlotte Vrinten

Research assistants: Harriet Bowyer

Postgraduate students: Elaine Douglas, Alex Ghanouni, Lindsay Kobayashi, Emma Low, Sam Smith, Kate Williams

Honorary Research Staff: Dr Ruth Evans, Dr Saskia Sanderson, Dr Kirsten McCaffery, Dr Emily Power

Statistician: David Boniface

This page last modified 9 Oct, 2012 by Mark Livermore

Alex Ghanouni, Claudia Hunot, Lindsay Kobayashi & Emma Low

University College London- Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 1720 - © 2012 UCL

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