Adolescents' awareness of cancer risk factors and associations with health-related behaviours

Richard G. Kyle* (Corresponding Author), Avril Nicoll, Liz Forbat, Gill Hubbard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing adolescents’ awareness of the contribution of modifiable lifestyle factors to cancer risk may influence life-long patterns of healthy behaviour. However, little is known about adolescents’ awareness of cancer risk factors and the effectiveness of awareness-raising interventions. This study assessed adolescents’ cancer awareness and the effectiveness of an existing cancer-specific school-based intervention delivered by Teenage Cancer Trust. The Cancer Awareness Measure was completed by 478 adolescents (male: 250, 52.3%) aged 11–17 years (mean: 13.8, standard deviation: 1.24) in four UK schools; 422 adolescents provided paired data 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the intervention delivered in 3 schools, and twice 4 weeks apart in the fourth (control) school. Adolescents recognized on average 4.4 (of 11) cancer risk factors. With the exception of smoking, adolescents’ awareness of cancer risk factors was low. Awareness significantly increased after the intervention (4.6–5.7, P < 0.001). There was no significant change in the control school. Intervention effect was greater among females. This educational intervention is an effective way to raise adolescents’ awareness of cancer risk factors. However, further cross-sectional and experimental studies are required to definitively assess adolescents’ awareness of cancer risk factors and the effectiveness of this educational intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-827
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number5
Early online date6 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013



  • smoking
  • cancer
  • adolescent
  • cancer risk

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