Shoulder to shoulder: Walk and Talk. Cancer prevention in vulnerable women

Project Outline/Introduction 

Understanding health information is important for all of us to make appropriate decisions about our health. It is particularly important that we find ways of effectively communicating cancer prevention with the more disadvantaged in our society. Our previous research showed that disadvantaged women are at very high risk of cancer due to a lack of trust in services, poor screening uptake and low cancer symptom awareness. This puts them at high risk of a late diagnosis and therefore a potentially earlier death.

Our previous work showed that health walks have multiple health benefits and are popular. Anecdotally, we have also observed that they can be very supportive and that people often share information such as health advice. For this work, we are developing a cancer prevention programme for women. This involves co-producing material in a series of workshops with women who attend 4Women’s Centres in Norwich and Great Yarmouth and training for a peer worker to lead the ‘Shoulder to Shoulder: Walk and Talk’ cancer prevention walks

Key research questions 

Our aim is for cancer to be talked about in a comfortable, rather than complicated way and to determine whether a series of cancer prevention walks are a suitable and supportive way of giving health information to vulnerable people.

Research Design and outputs 

At the end of the research, we will have designed a cancer prevention package to be used during a series of walking groups and pilot tested it. The walks will be peer led. The package will contain topics to be used on the walks on cancer symptom awareness, cancer screening and how to deal with barriers to seeking help. The ways these ‘healthy conversations’ are introduced on the walks was developed with the women in a series of workshops. The package will also contain a training guide for walk leaders, questionnaires designed to be used pre and post the series of walks, practical ways to run the ‘Shoulder to Shoulder: Walk and Talk’ groups and the skills and knowledge needed to be an effective walk leader.

  • Dr Sarah Hanson (PI)
  • Professor Andy Jones (Co-I)
  • Dr Wendy Hardeman (Co-I)
  • Dr Charlotte Salter (Co-I)
  • Dr Kathleen Lane (Senior Research Associate)

Funding

Big C, Norfolk’s cancer charity